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THE LAST PORTRAIT OF MR. BLAINE. 

Presented to the Publishers of ihis Kook with auto- 
graph signature. Mr. Blaine remarked at the 
time, " I lelt my house, stood lor the picture, and 
was back in eitrht minutes." 



Memorial SEotttotu 



Life and Work 



OF 



Jam^s G. ^laine 



AN ACCOUNT OF HIS BOYHOOD 

HIS YOUTH IN SCHOOL AND COLLEGE 

THE INITIAL PERIOD OF HIS PUBLIC CAREER 

HIS SERVICES IN CONGRESS AND IN TWO CABINETS 

HIS GREAT SPEECHES 

HIS CONTESTS FOR THE PRESIDENCY 

HIS INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMACY 

HIS LITERARY PRODUCTIONS 

HIS POLICIES AND STATESHANSHIP, AND. 

AN ESTIMATE OF HIS GENIUS . 



BY 

JOHN CLARK RIDPATH, LL D., 

General SELDEN CONNOR, Ex-Governor of Maine, 

and other eminent friends of Mr. Blaine. 



J& Slntional <6nUcrg of ^pictures auo portraits. 



WESTERN W. WILSON, 

294 Broad-way, New York. 



- 1 mi- 




CoPYRiSftTr- by H. S. SMITH. 

(all rights reserved.) 



#** Many of the illustrations in this work are from original drawings by our own artists 
and fully protected by copyright, their reproduction is unlawful, and notice is hereby given that 
persons guilty of infringing the copyright thereof will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. 






^ E do not conceal from ourselves or the public 
the hesitation which we feel in attempting to 
portray the life and work of James G. Blaine. 
It is a life so unique, a work so great, that the 
writers may well pause before beginning the 
delineation of the one and the estimation of 
the other. 

Public interest, however, is so deeply rooted 
in the character of Blaine that much will be over- 
looked and much more forgiven in the case of 
an honest attempt to transcribe that character to the 
printed page. The people of the United States will, at 
the present juncture, read with sympathy the essays and 
deductions of many authors. A great volume of matter, 
much of it transient and a certain part permanent in value, 
will be given forth in the current year. It were not beyond the range of 
probability that the personal life and public career of Blaine will be more 
discussed and written about than that of any other American of the present 
age, with the possible exception of General Grant. 

These facts may excuse such faults and imperfections in the following 
work as are incident to the nature of the subject and to the occasion. The 
occasion certainly exists. The shadow of a great eclipse has passed over 
the American landscape, The shadow has been as broad as the borders of 
our country, and the penumbra of it has extended northward to the frozen 
seas and southward to the pampas. 

American history of the current age has been rich in great men ; but it 
has not been so rich as to spare any. Of these death has been claiming 

from time to time a rich harvest. The shaft has struck here and there, in 

(iii) 



iv PREFACE. 

places far and near. Our distinguished generals are all gone or going. They 
who were developed to so high a degree of character and action in the 
epoch of our national trial have passed off one by one 

" To join 
The innumerable caravan which moves 
To that mysterious realm where each shall take 
His chamber in the silent halls of death." 

Grant and Lee, Sherman and Johnston have Iain down together. McClellan 
and Sheridan, Hancock and Logan have gone away to the far country whose 
landscape no earthly witness has described. 

In like manner the great civilians of the age have passed from the arena 
of the world. Where, alas! are those stately figures that filled the walks of 
public life during the last quarter of a century? Silent alll Two great 
Presidents dead by violence I Two other Presidents gone away the greatest 
sleeping at Riverside. Vice-Presidents and aspirants fallen ! Senators, diplo- 
matists, ministers, publicists a legion departed into silence 1 Ere long all the 
great relics of the heroic days will be seen no more in the gloom and shine 
of this planet. So also the intellectually great are going. Our authors, poets, 
men of letters, have disappeared until the thinned ranks are reduced to a 
spectral array, among whom contentions and rivalries are almost vain from 
paucity of numbers. 

It would appear that the world cannot well spare its great men. They 
are not so plentiful in any age or under any condition as to be wastefully 
put out of sight. The world loses by their going. It is not certain that our 
planet has any intrinsic value ; but its extrinsic or related value as the abode 
of human activity is great. It is men and the deeds of men that confer 
upon this scene its interest and importance. 

Nevertheless, our estimate of harm from the loss of the great is doubtless 
overdrawn. If, indeed, men individuals were, as the poorest school of 
thinking would have us believe, the creators of history, then the world the 
progress of events might seem to be put out of place by the departure of 
great actors from the arena. But the world is fortunately not so disturbed by 
the loss of any, however great. History is able to care for herself. She pro- 
duces according to her exigencies. If the exigencies be great, then history is a 
great mother. If the exigency be small, then the mother is correspondingly 
parsimonious in her offspring. Sometimes, for a while, she brings forth nothing 
at all not, perhaps, because she cannot, but because she thinks the occasion 
does not demand the exercise of the full powers of her sublime maternity I 



PREFACE. v 

James G. Blaine has now been transferred from this to another scene. 
He has gone to Garfield 1 What that other estate is, we shall not presump- 
tuously venture to declare. Certainly they are with the immortals, where- 
soever it be. May be it is in Lyra ; may be in Altair ! May be the glories 
of the sun have taken them both back to the embrace of fire. Let us at any 
rate hope that they live, and think, and enjoy, and know 1 

The day was when these two walked down side by side, on the early 
July morning, and entered the Chesapeake Station together. Eighteen years 
before they had entered Congress together. Both had risen to rank and fame. 
One had the greater success ; the other had the greater genius. It would 
seem that they were friends. Crash goes the assassin's bullet I One is 
down, and the other goes on through contention and battle for a season. 
He, too, has now made his exit through that narrow door which has opened 
and closed for every son of man. What a strange scene is this 1 Can any 
fathom life ? What is this action for ? What are all these senses, this 
intellect, this perception, this will, this consciousness and soul what is life 
intended to subserve and accomplish ? 

It is still the day of deep sympathy for the exit of James G. Blaine 
from the mortal scene. We do not doubt that the faculties of all Americans 
are for the present moved by the event, and that the logical estimate of the 
dead is disturbed a little by affection and the sense of loss. That Blaine 
has occupied a conspicuous place in the thought and in the heart of his 
countrymen for many years cannot be denied or doubted. He was the friend 
of many men, and many were friends of him. In his life he said brilliant 
things and enacted a striking part in the drama of the age. 

This is said of his part in the public life of the American nation. We 
all know that an exaggerated estimate is placed upon our public life and 
upon the actors in it. The public life of the people is not its real life ; but 
only its spectacular existence. The real life is the life of the masses. It is 
measured by their every-day thoughts and feelings and hopes. As these rise 
and fall civilization ascends or descends to corresponding altitudes and 
depressions. Certainly we do not deny that the public life has its greatness 
and value. We simply insist that this public life is not the true one that 
it is only exponential of a greater life resident in the breast of the people. 

In the arena of governmental affairs necessarily a great arena in a 
democratic and republican country leaders have a remarkable ascendancy 
over the minds of the people. It is well that it should be so. The people, 
looking to their leaders, remember that they are leaders because they are 
chosen to be such. Therefore, the people glory in themselves because of the 



vi PREFACE. 

leadership which they themselves have created. There are, however, leaders 
and leaders. James G. Blaine was one of the leaders. He led, not only by 
sufferance, not only because he was chosen with the full consent of a free 
people to lead, but because he had in him the inherent capacity to be a 
leader and the genius to vindicate his claim by many conspicuous and useful 
policies and works. 

As to method it is often a matter of doubt with a writer what is best 
to be chosen. The method varies with the subject. In the case of public 
men a biography is necessarily deduced most largely from public affairs. It 
is drawn from those records which the given character has written or helped 
to record in the annals of his age. In the case of literary men the narrative is 
deduced mostly from their writings and to a considerable extent from the 
personal habits and lives of the authors. 

There is a strong disposition in our day to separate the public man into 
two parts, and to pass over the personal half with little notice or concern. 
It has been openly avowed in recent American biography as a canon of the 
art that the personal life of the public man has nothing to do with the case. 
Public interest, however, includes both the individual and the civil life of the 
actor. This is true, if we mistake not, as a principle to be observed in the 
biography of Blaine. He had a large personality^ as well as a large public career. 
We shall attempt to delineate both in the following pages, though the 
subject will lead us to dwell more particularly on the civic and public parts 
than on the personal. 

In a country like the United States, where families are not established, 
where the genealogical tree is less esteemed than any tree of the forest, it 
must needs be that a personal and family history will be brief this for the 
reason that no record is made of the career of American boys and youths. 
It cannot be known in advance that a given boy, in a republican democracy 
like our own, will rise to distinction. The rule is, indeed, that our great men 
proceed from obscurity. The obscurity is sometimes so dense that it is almost 
impossible to discover anything about the early life, associations and dispo- 
sitions of the character in question. Life in the United States does not go 
by families, but by achievement. We have seen in late years how difficult 
it is to construct a biography of Lincoln or of Garfield. The beginnings of 
their lives and the whole period of youth were so obscure that the bio- 
grapher is scarcely able to find a point of light or interest. 

In America men emerge. They come not of old family stocks not out 
of baronial manors and feudal castles but out of the undiscovered fountains 
of the humble homes of the people. The American youth is properly the son 



PREFACE. vii 

of the people. The fact is emphasized by cross-marriage, which is the rule 
in American society, No doubt the principle of marriage by the preference 
and desire of the parties has its drawbacks and disadvantages ; but it is, at 
any rate, based on affection and choice, and these must, in the long run, 
work out better results than any marriage method contrived by the interest 
and selfishness of parents. 

The American youth, having in his veins the cross-currents of many 
stocks, becomes composite in the highest degree ; but, at the same time, he 
becomes strong. The old method of preparing the metal for axles and 
pistons was to gather from indescribable sources the scrap-iron debris of 
everything, and to throw the same together upon a sheet of the same metal, 
which was folded up around the miscellaneous mass. The ball thus prepared 
was cast into the furnace, and thence taken at white heat to be kneaded and 
pounded and rolled into the required form. Thus was greatest strength 
secured, and thus, by mixture of fiber, a density and endurance of the whole 
obtained, which could not be reached in any other way. In the alchemy of 
human life there is something like it ; that is, in the alchemy of American life, 
where every son born of our democratic family is a sort of son of man. 

These reflections have a measure of application to Blaine. True, his 
family descent was highly reputable. But his ancestors were not so con- 
spicuous or so much concerned about the prospects of their descendants as 
to record the events if such they may be called of the juvenile career of 
our subject. In fact, James G. Blaine began life as other boys to make his 
way in the world, and it was some time before he was able to demonstrate 
the difference between his own powers and promise and the like facts in his 
fellows. After the beginning of his public career the light is turned upon 
him, and in course of time there is a full blaze. 

In his latter years Blaine has been watched and recorded at every step. 
Hardly any other character in the whole history of the American people has 
been written about and made of record so fully as has been the subject of 
the biography which we here attempt to present. 

In the preparation of this volume we shall first aim to give an account of 
the ancestry and early life of Blaine, passing thence to the collegiate and 
trial epoch of his youth, and thence to his first appearance in public. 
From his editorial career we shall follow him into Congress, and note with 
admiration his rise and distinction. Already at the age of thirty-five he 
was a noted man. 

A number of such cases are seen in the epoch under consideration. 
In 1 86 j the young men of the great free States had become suddenly 



Vlll 



PREFACE. 



conspicuous. They had espoused the Republican cause ; voted for Fremont ; 
gone in on the wave that carried Lincoln to the presidency, and soon began 
to reap the fruits of leadership. Oliver P. Morton was War Governor of 
Indiana at the age of thirty-seven. Blaine was a leader at a still more 
precocious period of his life. 

From the notice of his career at this epoch we shall go forward to the 
still wider career upon which he entered in the after years of his service in 
the House and in the Senate. Then we shall see him as Secretary of State 
and aspirant for the presidency. It will be our purpose to adorn this volume 
with copious extracts from Blaine's great speeches ; also to add from his other 
literary works to the extent of illustrating his capacities as a man of letters. 
Finally, we shall attempt to give an adequate estimate of the genius and career 
of Blaine viewed as facts in American history. 

We solicit for the work here presented to the public a fair measure of 
attention and appreciation. It has been our desire to make it in some degree 
worthy of the subject and of the occasion which now calls forth the publi- 
cation. In common with our countrymen we share the admiration which they 
have entertained for James G. Blaine, and shall have a keen regret for any failure 
to portray his life and work in such manner as to merit the approbation of 
that great and not undiscerning public to whom we surrender this work with 

mingled pleasure and regret. 

J, C. R. 

New York, 1893. S. C. 





PAGE. 

Preface, iii-viii 

Introduction Typical men Sentiment of Lavater Paucity of great names Charle- 
magne's place in Middle-Age history Other mediaeval heroes Washington as a 
type Webster and Clay Hamilton and Marshall Lincoln's place in history A 
Virginian's opinion of the emancipator Henry Clay Military and civic fame 
Virtue of American patriotism Blaine's appearance as a statesman His character 
and work Singleness of his career Sympathy and admiration of his countrymen 
Illusions of the present hour Interest in Blaine's life and work xxv-xxxii 



CHAPTER I. 
Concerning Birthplaces The point of origin a matter of indifference The man makes 
his own birthplace Descent determines character Birthplace of Blaine Sketch of 
the epoch of his appearance Setting of events for that day The Blaine family- 
Colonel Ephraim Blaine His descendants Ephraim L. Blaine in particular The 
home in Cumberland Valley Maria Gillespie The religious question in the family- 
Removal of Ephraim L. Blaine to Western Pennsylvania His resources and char- 
acter Condition of the country Education and dispositions of the elder Blaine 
First training of James Gillespie Indian Hill Farm Present condition of the old 
house and surroundings Captain Van Hook and his traditions Narrative of J. E. 
Adams Blaine's early aptitudes Home training of the boy Celtic influences 
Early impressions and culture Mother's influence First connection with the 
Ewings Blaine and Thomas Ewing, Jr. James' earliest ambitions Paternal policy 
respecting him Blaine in school at Lancaster The two youths select their colleges- 
Lyons chosen as a tutor He prepares the boys for collegiate training Traditions of 
Blaine's school days at West Brownsville What might have been and what not 
Story of the boy's readiness Jefferson College and Washington and Jefferson 
College Story of the founding of these institutions College life and tradition 
Gow's account of Blaine in his college days Fallacy of the classmate Blaine's 
superiority as a student His preferences in study Plutarch in particular Mathe- 
matical aptitude A born debater The College Literary Society Usurpation of the 
Greek fraternity Blaine's superiority in forensics Story of Hamilton Appearance 
of young Blaine in youth His rank at graduation Condition of affairs at date of 
graduation Opinions and events of the day The Mexican question in particular 

Beginning of slavery propagandism Close of the youthful period 

(is) 



33-49 



x CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER II. 

INITIAL PASSAGES. 

Evolution of Individual Character -Blaine a possible teacher Influence of instructors 
in determining pursuits Choice of Kentucky as a scene of action The Western 
Military Institute Personnel and character of the school Prevalence of such insti- 
tutions in the South Blaine makes the acquaintance of Harriet Stanwood His 
character as a teacher His relations with the students He contemplates another 
profession Death of his father He marries Miss Stanwood The Stanwood family 
Further career at Blue Lick Springs Resigns his position and goes to Philadelphia 
Begins the study of law Enters the Pennsylvania Institution for the Instruction of 
the Blind Doctor Chapin's narrative of Blaine's entrance into the school Character 
of that institution Early beginning of Blaine in manly work His success as an 
instructor in Philadelphia Sketch of the Pennsylvania Institution Blaine's journal 
of the school Extracts therefrom Excellent character of the record Michael 
Williams and his narratives regarding Blaine Habits of Blaine and his wife in their 
intercourse with the students Blaine's personal methods Notice of David Wood 
Note of Mr. Frank Battles Blaine continues his legal studies He resigns from the 
institution Letter of George Edward Reed Question of permanent location Blaine 
chooses Augusta His preferences for writing He becomes an editor in Maine 
Philosophy of location as affecting the careers of public men Advantages and dis- 
advantages of various States The doubtful States and the certain The position of 
Maine considered Character of the old leadership in the United States Deaths of 
Clay and Webster Blaine advantaged and disadvantaged in his location He 
becomes editor of the Kennebec Journal The firm of Baker and Blaine Legal life 
and editorial life Blaine a natural politician His equipment for a public career 
Political character of the epoch Death of the Whig party Anarchy in politics 
Know-nothingism Domination of negro slavery The year 1854 "Tom's Cabin" 
and Helper's "Crisis" Intellectual warfare Voice of the Abolitionist Birth of a 
new political party The political animal How he ranks himself Natural attitudes 
of parties Blaine one of the insurgents In at the birth of the Republican part}' 
Free Kansas Blaine's manner and method as an editor Intelligence of the Maine 
folk The old editorial and the new Files of the Kennebec Journal Extracts there- 
from Blaine's article on Hannibal Hamlin His praise of that statesman for. his 
attitude on the Kansas question Article on the Topeka Constitution Controversy 
with the Age newspaper respecting that instrument Editorial on Border Ruffianism 
in Maine Criticism of the Southern leaders Blaine' s antagonism to the slave trade 
The flag with eighteen stars Editorial on the State election of 1856 Review of 
national questions Forecast of Fremont's election Appeal to Maine to speak for 
liberty Review of the situation in Massachusetts Political predictions of the result 
of the presidential election Editorial on the contest in Pennsylvania Shrewd cal- 
culations in regard to results in that State Blaine's letters from the contested field 
Communication from Pittsburgh His enthusiastic predictions in favor of the Union 
party Sharp editorial comments on political conditions The Philadelphia letter of 
October The candidates and issues handled, with estimates of strength and summary 
of results Predictions as to divisions in the electoral college Editorial of August 
in reply to an attack made by the Age Editorial work leads to political aspirations 
Blaine's timidity His first experience as a leader His address on returning from 
the National Convention of 1856 His manner and success Philosophy of the maiden 
effort His hot work in the Kennebec Journal Early beginning for a statesman 
Breakers ahead Blaine sells his newspaper interest Becomes editor of the Portland 
Daily Advertiser Is chosen to the Maine Legislature His manner as a speaker 



CONTENTS. 



XI 
PAGE 



Begins to assert himself in leadership Twice re-elected to the House of Representa- 
tives Is made Speaker The day of transformation Kansas war The Dred Scott 
decision John Brown, of Ossawattomie The disunion drama opens The Union 
must preserve itself Questions before the Maine Legislature Resolutions in support 
of the Government Opposition of Gould, of Thomaston Blaine's speech in 
reply He discusses the war power of the nation Interprets the Constitution Sup- 
premacy claimed for Congress That body compared with the House of Commons 
Citation from Vattel The Government may rightfully make war on seceded States- 
May take back her ports Sumner's position upheld in argument Able summary, 
with citations from American statesmen Blaine a rising man His power of study 
and investigation Is appointed Prison Commissioner and State printer In the 
Republican National Convention of i860 Supports Lincoln Circumstances hedge 
his way Is elected to Congress in 1862 Condition of the country at that time, . . ' 50-98 

CHAPTER III. 

LIFE IN CONGRESS FIRST PERIOD. 

Comments on the "New Member" Opening of the Thirty-eighth Congress Per- 
sonnel of that body Blaine's appearance and manner Remarks of others respecting 
him How he regarded himself Difficulties in beginning a congressional career 
Blaine and Garfield Both have the habit of work Little speaking at first Blaine 
begins to emerge Crisis of the Civil War Questions that came with it Money and 
tariff Blaine's speech in answer to Sunset Cox He becomes a sharp debater Pro- 
gress of political events McClellan a candidate for the Presidency Paradox of the 
Democratic position Re-election of Lincoln Blaine renominated for Congress His 
letter of acceptance He discusses national questions therein Stands strongly by the 
Government, and advocates the preservation of the Union by force In the Thirty- 
ninth Congress End of the war Old basis of representation The negro shall be 
counted Blaine's speech on the new basis Political complexion of affairs Leader- 
ship of Henry Winter Davis Competitors for his cloak Notice of Roscoe Conkling 
His rivalry with Blaine The break of 1866 Altercation in Congress Account 
of the great battle between the leaders Narrative of S. S. Cox Blaine's sarcasm 
The abyss opens between him and Conkling Measures advocated by the former in 
Congress The money issue in particular He takes a middle ground Account of 
the struggle between paper money and coin Interests of the debtor and creditor 
classes Blaine advocates the honest dollar He sesks to promote commerce His 
studies, readings and conclusions Travels abroad Comments of the Rockland 
Democrat on his renomination to Congress Blaine becomes popular at Washington 
His fame blown abroad Makes no mistakes Measures in which he interested him- 
self His success in the Fortieth Congress Re-elected in 1868 Chosen to the 
Speakership Review of his career and rise to distinction, 99-114 

CHAPTER IV. 

IN THE SPEAKERSHIP. 

Significance of an Election to the Speakership Temper of the House with respect 
thereto Comparison of Clay, Colfax and Blaine Elements of superiority in the 
latter Balancing of merits between him and Clay Popularity of each So-called 
personal magnetism Warmth of great leaders Contrast of the Speaker and President 
Grant Respective influence of the two officers Conkling's relations to both His 
ascendancy over the President Originating power of the Speaker Fine qualities 
exhibited by Blaine Life of a congressman Duties of the Speaker How they may 
be met Blaine's temperance and industry Condition of affairs in the South The 



xii CONTENTS. 

I-GE 

"Act to strengthen the public credit" Blaine's influence in relation thereto He 
upholds the dominant policy Republicanism inherits the negro Failure of the 
latter to be transformed by freedom The symposium on the disfranchisement of the 
blacks Should suffrage be universal? Increase of Blaine's reputation Rivals and 
rivalries The credit mobilier Republican party on the defensive Resolution of 
endorsement at close of Blaine's first term He is re-elected Speaker His contest 
with B. F. Butler Question at issue and Blaine's speech Resolutions of confidence 
Political reaction of 1874 A Democratic majority in the House Blaine's speech on 
retiring from the Speakership His comments on the office He is returned to 
Congress The Presidency rises on the view, 115-126 

CHAPTER V. 

CONTESTS FOR THE PRESIDENCY. 

Elaine in the Forty-fourth Congress The House and the Senate as arenas of political 
ambition Condition of affairs in the South Return of the Confederates to Con- 
gress Blaine makes himself champion of Republican sentiment His debate with 
Hill on the proposed amnesty of Jefferson Davis He charges the Confederate Presi- 
dent with responsibility for the horrors of Andersonville Blaine's name mentioned 
for the Presidency Question of the railroad bonds was raised Disposition of the 
times to kill off public men with charges of corruption Blaine's defence of him- 
self His connection with the Little Rock and Fort Smith Railroad History of the 
transaction Blaine denies complicity, and speaks on the subject in Congress Spec- 
tacle of the Mulligan letter day Blaine a candidate before the National Convention 
of 1876 Organization of that body Competitors for the prize Roscoe Conkling 
Benjamin H. Bristow Oliver P. Morton Rutherford B. Hayes Story of the Con- 
vention Ingersoll's nominating speech Result of the Convention Nomination of 
Hayes Blaine's telegram He participates in the canvass The disputed Presi- 
dency The Electoral Commission Blaine's health He is appointed to the Senate 
of the United States His letter to his constituents An aspirant for the Presidency 
Changed and changing political conditions Project for the re-election of General 
Grant Discussion of the third-term question Grant's relations thereto Assembling 
of the Republican Convention of 1880 Marshaling of forces Blaine the favorite 
His competitors The break for Garfield Nomination of the latter for the Presi- 
dency Blaine supports him, and he is chosen -The former appointed Secretary of 
State Friendship of himself and the President The assassination and its results 
Blaine resigns from the Cabinet Return of the Presidential year The field for 
1884 Sherman, Arthur and Blaine The Chicago Convention L,ist of the con- 
testants Blaine carries the day Enthusiasm over the result Telegram from Mrs. 
Garfield Blaine's address accepting the nomination Campaign of 1884 Upheaval 
of scandals Blaine's visit to New York City The Burchard incident and its effects 
Defeat of the Republican candidate Blaine's retiracy to private life His resi- 
dences in Washington and Maine Devotes himself to literary pursuits Value of his 
historical productions Anecdote of General Grant Blaine's speech after his defeat 
He takes part in the campaign of 1886 Moderation of his views on the tariff ques- 
tion Will he again stand for the Presidency ? The spell of his name Story of the 
Florence letter Presidential contest of 1888 Candidates before the Republican 
Convention Nomination of Harrison Break in Blaine's vitality His reasons for 
not appearing in the contest of 1888 He is again appointed Secretary of State 
Retires from the position Embarrassing conditions of 1892 The last eclipse Defeat 
of the favorite at Minneapolis His weakened condition Fame follows him into 
private life 127-156 



CONTENTS. xiii 

PAGE 

CHAPTER VI. 

IN SENATE AND CABINET. 

Condition of Affairs on Blaine's Entrance into the Senate Character of that 
body Comparison of the two Houses "No mercy here" Quiet of the Senate 
chamber Preparation for service in the Upper House Blaine's qualifications His 
temper with respect to senatorial service His relation to the Tilden-Hayes contest 
Views of the statesman on the remonetization of silver History of that question 
Struggle between the fund-holding and producing classes Exposition of the dollar 
Omission of the American dollar from the list of coins Blaine's thesis on the ques- 
tion His interest on other topics The commerce of the United States He favors 
the restoration of American commerce Summary of his position on the subject 
Wherein he may be praised The Halifax fishery award Strange provision of the 
Treaty of Washington Provision for the appointment of the umpire Delfosse's 
position in the court He decides against the United States The principle of arbi- 
tration upheld Apparition of the solid South Question of troops at the polls Issue 
of Chinese immigration Character of the Chinese History of the relations between 
the United States and China The Chinese labor trade Danger of an invasion 
Abrogation of the Burlingame Treaty Formation of a new international compact 
Blaine's distinguished place in the Senate His letter to Garfield accepting a place 
in the Cabinet Admirable temper of the communication Foreign policy of the 
Garfield administration as explained by Blaine Project of a Peace Congress Inter- 
val between the first and second service in the Cabinet Harrison reappoints him 
Secretary of State He renews his policies Extent of his international correspond- 
ence Death of his children, Walker and Alice Anecdote by Bishop Hurst 
Break in Blaine's health His personal appearance and habit Will he again stand 
for the Presidency? Vexatious relations with the administration Blaine retires 
from the Cabinet Failure in Minneapolis, 157-172 

CHAPTER VII. 

THE INTERNATIONAL AMERICAN CONFERENCE. 

A Peace Congress of the American States It is held under Blaine's auspices His 
address of welcome His summary of the nations represented Hope of establishing 
confidence and friendship among them Theory that the American nations ought to 
abide in sympathy Outline of beliefs and sentiments Subjects to be presented at 
the Conference The address the highest expression of Blaine's statesmanship 
Nations represented, and list of delegates Blaine chosen President of the Confer- 
ence The committees appointed Extent and variety of the subjects discussed 
Report of Committee on Weights and Measures Amendment to the same Report 
of Committee on Inter-Continental Railways Reports of Committee on Customs 
Unions Conflict among the nations on the question of free trade Obscurity of the 
subject The question one of advantage Debate thereon in the Conference Report 
of Committee on Communication on the Atlantic Outline of its provisions Similar 
report from Committee on Communication on the Pacific Appendix thereto by Estee, 
of California Second report on the same subject Recommendations from Committee 
on Harbor Fees and Regulations Report of Committee on Patents and Trade Marks- 
Committee on Extradition of Criminals makes its report The question of an inter- 
national monetary union Nature of that issue explained The bottom contest between 
the debtor and the creditor Debate on the subject Recommendations of the committee 
Ambiguity of the measures proposed Travesty on the question Report of Com- 
mittee on International American Bank Recommendations from Committee on Private 
International Law Also from Committee on Plan of Arbitration Close of the sessions 
of the Conference Blaine's farewell address The event the acme of his career, . . 173-188 



xiv CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

CHAPTER VIII. 

EPISODE OF THE PARIS LETTER. 

Circumstances that Led to the Writing of the Paris Letter Tariff message of 
President Cleveland Comments thereon by the public Sensational features of the 
document Blaine undertakes an answer His residence in Paris Form in which the 
letter appeared Henry W. Knight's narrative of its production He recites Blaine's 
own account of the writing of the paper Extraordinary feat of work Blaine's 
exhaustion afterwards Mr. Knight's relations with the statesman Text of the Paris 
letter Mr. Smalley's report of his interview with Blaine The latter gives his views 
on the tariff He proposes a repeal of the tobacco tax Favors the retention of the 
tax on whisky Coast defences should be paid for from this revenue In time of peace 
prepare for war Houses and farms pay too much tax Wool-growers must be pro- 
tected Vital importance of the labor question What will become of the farmers ? 
Tariff of 1864 and its results How Blaine would reduce the revenue Possible effects 
of Cleveland's policy An American market for the American people Unlimited free 
trade at home Need of a new political economy The South should demand pro- 
tection Fallacy of admitting raw materials A full and fair contest on the free trade 
issue demanded, 189-201 

CHAPTER IX. 

PERSONALITY, HOME TRAITS AND CHARACTERISTICS. 

Quotation from Cellini Famous autobiographies Interest of self-revelations Notes 
of Washington and Grant Why the public would know its heroes Gradual growth 
favors public interest Blaine's conspicuous and continuous career Elements of 
popularity His person described A knight without reproach Industries of Maine 
described Blaine's own district His editorial profession Residence in Augusta 
Addition to the house Story of the officious driver The Augusta home The 
family Political life in the commonwealth Blaine as a spellbinder His manner as 
a campaigner Receptions at the Blaine house A soiree dansante Blaine's manner 
on such occasions His methods as chairman of the committee His tactics as a 
politician His acquaintance with friends, public and private Popularity of the 
leader among his followers A good giver Meetings with original characters 
Blaine's charm in conversation His methods in conversing Courtesy and the desire 
to please Anecdote of Friend William Blaine's fondness for walking and driving 
Speaking as an exercise Attractions of Maine as a summer resort Blaine in the 
campaign wagon His nerve as a driver California incident The statesman walks 
much and communes with Nature Anecdote of Choate Blaine's rhetoric Subject- 
matter of his speeches His library facilities His study of men Anecdote of the 
organ-grinder before the Seward House Organization of Blaine in mind and body 
His superstitions Notions about his health His resources and business methods 
His religious belief and habits The Blaine family enumerated Walker Blaine in 
particular Alice Emmons Margaret Harriet and James G., Jr. Life in the 
Augusta home Historical interest about the place where dwelt the Man from Maine, 202-216 

CHAPTER X. 

RETIRACY AND LAST DAYS. 

Great Men Seek an Interval of Repose Some die in the harness Blaine's temper 
favorable to fighting out the battle Circumstances limit preference His retirement 
from the Cabinets of Garfield and Harrison result from historical conditions Blaine's 
residence on Lafayette Park His home in Augusta His summer home at Bar 
Harbor Tradition of Mount Desert Island Description of the Blaine villa The 



CONTENTS. xv 

PAGE 

Washington House in Fifteenth Street The Dupont Circle mansion Traditions of 
the Seward House Blaine an assiduous worker His literary aspirations He writes 
much His residence in Washington and his travels abroad Evidences of breaking 
health Sorrow for the death of his children His last public speech Nature of the 
disease with which he was prostrated Story of his decline Death comes suddenly 
Report of the physicians on his ailments Incidents of the last day The death- 
chamber Impression produced on the public mind Proclamation of the President 
Congress adjourns Tone of the newspaper press Subject-matter of criticisms and 
eulogies Preparations for the funeral Oak Hill Cemetery chosen for sepulture 
Public expectation Pageants and private funerals compared Blaine chose the 
latter List of the pallbearers Church and clergymen Ceremonies of the occa- 
sion Casket and inscription Religious question again A Catholic and Protestant 
household The Georgetown Cemetery The funeral proper Tributes and flowers 
Ceremonies at the residence Sendees at the Church of the Covenant The address 
and the music The procession Crowds en route Scenes in the cemetery The 
burial-place Graphic account of the visit of Mrs. Blaine to the grave of her 
husband Requiescat in pace, 217-233 

CHAPTER XI. 

SPEECHES AND ADDRESSES FIRST PERIOD. 

Early Passion of Blaine for Public Speech His address announcing the nomination 
of Fremont He reviews the slavery question in the United States Right of the 
Government to regulate the institution in the Territories: Reviews the proceedings in 
the first Republican Convention Caustic comments on Buchanan The speaker 
appeals to the Republicans of Maine Urges the candidacy of Hamlin Result of the 
Presidential election of 1856 Blaine's Farmington speech He discusses the issues 
of i860 National questions handled in a masterly way He antagonizes slavery 
Reviews the Dred Scott decision Shows the fallacy of the pro-slavery position Cries 
out for restriction Comments on the events of the past four years Shows the hope- 
less division of the Democratic party Predicts the election of Lincoln Praises 
Hamlin Indicates a protective policy for the Government Shows the causes of 
fluctuation in the value of commodities Tide of prosperity turned against the 
United States Discusses the financial crisis of 1857 Shows the antagonism of 
slavery to free industry and high wages Reviews the political contest of the past 
twenty years Exhorts the people of Maine to stand by the Republican policy- 
Peculiar interest of the address in the light of subsequent developments 234-244 

CHAPTER XII. 

SPEECHES AND ADDRESSES CONGRESSIONAL. 

Blaine Aspires to Congress His speech on the confiscation of rebel property He 
reviews the course of the war, and argues in favor of prosecuting it to the end 
Enters Congress Speaks on the financial condition of the country Also on the 
futility of attempting to equalize coin and paper money Comments on the provisions 
of the Stevens Bill Shows the condition of affairs should the same become a law- 
Cites English history against the measure Advocates the adoption of English 
methods in preserving the national credit Question of a new basis of representa- 
tion Blaine's speech on that subject Shows the advantage which the seceded States 
had enjoyed in congressional representation Severe strictures on the current appor- 
tionmentEvokes the Constitution against it Urges the adoption of a new basis 
according to population Speaks in Maine on the same subject Question of recon- 
struction arises Blaine's address on the restoration of the late insurgents to civil 



xvi CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

p 0W e r Unfairness of Southern election Proposes amendment to the Constitution 
covering basis of representation and principles for reorganizing the Union Attacks 
the principle of counting negroes when they are disfranchised Shows the unjust 
influence of the old Southern States in the electoral college Appeals to the late 
elections in favor of reform Duties of the Government to protect all its citizens in 
equal right before the Constitution and the laws Question of the payment of the 
public debt Blaine shows that the national honor is involved in full payment of the 
obligations imposed by the war He attacks the new doctrine of the payment of the 
debt in paper money Considers the character and true significance of the national 
bonds Advocates payment of both principal and interest in coin Even the five- 
twenty bonds are redeemable in metallic money Controverts the views of Pendleton 
Urges that the bonds, by terms of their negotiation, were payable in coin Shows 
that Stevens had changed his position Nature of the ten-forty bonds Method of 
sale of the Government securities Supplementary Loan Bill of 1864 The seven- 
thirty bonds History of the bill for the issuance of the coin bonds Extracts from 
Secretary Chase's letter Argument that the bonded debt is rightfully payable in 
coin Review of the course of Chase, Fessenden and McCulloch Fessenden's decla- 
ration relative to the five-twenties McCulloch 's letter to Morton and Company- 
Proposition to pay the five-twenties in greenbacks discussed Question of taxing the 
Government bonds Blaine's speech of June, 1 863 He opposes the project to tax 
the Government's securities Shows where such taxation would fall - Indicates the 
corporations by which the national bonds were held Demonstrates the infeasibility 
of the proposed measure Question of local and general taxation of the securities 
discussed The project to tax a matter of bad faith Advancement in Blaine's 
' career He is appointed to a seat in the Senate, 245-270 

CHAPTER XIII. 

SPEECHES AND ADDRESSES SENATORIAL. 

The Senate Not so Well Suited as the House to Blaine's Genius His age and 
character on entering the senatorial body Question of the remonetization of silver 
Blaine's speech on that subject The power of Congress over the coinage -discussed 
History of the question in other countries Difficulties of bi-metallism considered 
The real question before Congress What would follow if free coinage of silver were 
permitted Dangers of a depreciated dollar Anecdote of Vanderbilt The hard- 
money argument in extenso -Blaine not a mono-metallist Impossibility of striking 
out silver from the coinage Citations from Hamilton Position of Stanley Matthews 
controverted The bonds payable in standard coin of July 14, 1870 Bad grace of the 
demand for payment in gold only Blaine discerned that gold had risen in the 
market He proposes an augmented silver dollar The bill offered by Blaine as a 
substitute He foresees the failure of his measure Denounces cheap money Advo- 
cates the maintenance of parity between the two money metals Question of the 
Halifax award arises Blaine speaks on the question Explains the character of the 
commission Antecedents of the transaction Absurdity of allowing an Austrian 
minister to appoint the umpire Blaine concedes honorable intentions to Sir Edward 
Thornton and M. Delfosse Animadverts upon the character of the award Position 
of the American commissioner discussed Citation from Redman on "Arbitration 
and Award" Other authorities quoted Shall the Government accept the decision 
of the commission ? Remarks by Hannibal Hamlin Blaine's response He con- 
tinues the discussion in a second speech Describes the efforts of Lord Granville to 
secure the appointment of Delfosse as umpire Quotation from the London Times 
Attitude of the Canadian ministry discussed Injustice of the award Blaine's policy 
of extending the influence of the United States Anecdote of Macaulay Question of 



CONTENTS. 



XVII 
PAGE 



Chinese immigration again Blaine leads in an effort to secure restriction His speech 
of February, 1879 Urges the abrogation of the Burlingame Treaty Reviews the 
position of Stanley Matthews Shows that the Chinese have violated their con- 
tractDemonstrates that immigration can only be permitted when it is voluntary- 
Remarks of Mr. Matthews Continuance of Blaine's address Shows that the Bur- 
lingame Treaty is peculiar Necessity of demanding its abrogation Further contro- 
versy with Senator Matthews Analogies drawn from our relations with other 
countries History of the controversy relative to immigration Can the Chinese 
become citizens ? Number of the Orientals come into the United States Easiness 
of a Chinese invasion Necessity that the Mongolians should be excluded Question 
of enfranchising the Chinese Blaine accuses Senators of desiring to shirk their 
responsibilities Response of Hamlin A senatorial colloquy The race question not 
to be lightly put aside Difficulty of dealing with Chinese immigrants Imminent 
danger to the society and industries of California Blaine regrets the hard treatment 
to which the Chinese have been subjected Their cheap labor not desirable in com- 
petition with that of America Summary of the question at issue The Chinese issue 
goes to the country Blaine speaks on the subject a second time in the Senate Urges 
the importance of restriction Replies to the Senator from Louisiana Quotation from 
Lincoln Blaine discusses the difference between the Chinese question and the ques- 
tion of negro enfranchisement Cites the record of Hannibal Hamlin against him- 
selfQualities of Blaine's mind as exhibited in the discussion His brilliancy as a 
congressional debater, 27i?o6 

CHAPTER XIV. 

INTERNATIONAL SPIRIT AND DIPLOMACY. 

Blaine's Mind Essentially Diplomatical Statesmanship tends to internationality 
Blaine gives himself up to the spirit of the age He adopts a policy as Secretary of 
State His friendliness to the Irish cause His State paper on the Clayton- Bui wer 
Treaty and interoceanic canals Contends for the right of the United States to control 
the highways across the Isthmus of Panama Citations from the existing treaties 
Attitude of the Government on the question Advises the American Minister to notify 
Lord Granville of the existing provision and treaty stipulations on the question Sets 
forth the purposes and commercial policies of the United States Treaty of 1846 Rela- 
tions of the United States and Colombia Extension of the railway system of Mexico 
and Central America Importance of the canal as a means of transit from sea to sea 
The friendly intentions of the United States declared European policies cannot be 
adopted in America The powers of Europe have frequently guaranteed neutrality and 
independence Advises Lowell to let be known the views of the American Govern- 
ment Citation of the President's inaugural Continuance of the discussion in Novem- 
ber, 1881 Quotation from existing agreement respecting the interoceanic canal 
Great interest of the United States in maintaining American prerogative Small 
interest of Great Britain Blaine plants himself on the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty- 
Urges modification of existing agreement Shows the policy of Great Britain at 
Gibraltar and Suez Vastness of the American interest at stake The Pacific Coast 
especially concerned Impracticability of making the Isthmian canals except under 
supervision of the United States The question of war considered Necessity for 
abrogating or amending the treaty Great Britain's promise to aid in the construction 
of the Nicaraguan canal Summary of principles demanded for the Government of 
the United States Pledge that the latter will act in harmony with the other American 
republics The canal intended as an agent of peaceful commerce Reasons for dis- 
cussing the question at that juncture Lowell urged to communicate Blaine's views 
to Lord Granville Third State paper on the same subject Original opposition to the 



xviii CONTENTS. 

Clayton-Bulwer Treaty in our country Views of the two nations irreconcilable under 
the treaty Failure of the Clarendon-Dallas Treaty Quotation from Lord Napier 
Cass' note of 1857 Napier predicts the abrogation of the treaty Further complica- 
tions of the question Communication of Cass to Lord Napier Sir William Ouseley's 
mission Citation from Buchanan's message to Congress The triple deadlock of 
1857 Instructions of Lord Clarendon to Napier in the following year Further official 
papers on the subject of the treat} Napier's dispatch of March, 1858 Review of 
the history of the treaty from its enactment to the current date Reasons why it can 
no longer hold as an agreement between the United States and Great Britain Blaine's 
paper on arbitrary arrests in Ireland The case of Michael P. Boyton Expectation 
that justice will be done under the law The Secretary continues the subject in June, 
1 88 1 Discussion of the Protection Act of Parliament The case of Joseph B. Walsh- 
Principles by which the American Government will be guided in the case of accused 
Irishmen claiming citizenship The Jewish question comes to the fore Blaine's paper 
on the oppression of the Hebrews in Russia Nature of the American interest in the 
Russian Jews Citation of certain cases Blaine's desire that harmony might be 
reached in Russia's treatment of the Israelites The rights of moral freedom in foreign 
lands discussed Condition of the Hebrews in Russia presented Blaine seeks to 
employ the influence of Great Britain for the betterment of the Russian Hebrews- 
Breaking out of the Peru-Chilian war Interest of the United States in the South 
American republics Blaine's dispatches to the American Minister He seeks to 
restore peace among the Southern republics His paper on the existing war He dis- 
cusses the progress of events and urges peace Citation from Christiancy's correspond- 
ence Proposition to recognize the Calderon Government Letter of Mr. Osborne 
from Santiago Instruction to General Kilpatrick Reports of that officer on the 
South American situation Blaine summarizes the actions of our Government in the 
premises Discussion of Chili's change of policy Cause of offence to the Government 
of the United States Complication respecting General Hurlbut Difficulty of deter- 
mining the true state of affairs Possible intervention of other powers Proposition 
to indemnify Chili for expenses of the war Protest against the extinction of Peru- 
Instructions to the American Minister with respect to his negotiations Hope that the 
United States might be chosen as umpire to settle the controversy Our relations with 
Mexico Diplomatical paper of Blaine to the American Minister He discusses the 
question of commerce and mutual interests between the two countries General rela- 
tions of amity advocated Disclaimer of desire to increase our territories Expressions 
of gratification at Mexican prosperity Hope that the Mexican people may adopt 
improved industrial methods and increase their domestic prosperity Paper of detailed 
instructions Good-will of the United States towards Mexican administration Appeal 
of ( ruatemala to our country to arbitrate the difficulties with Mexico Desire of Blaine 
to act as peace-maker between the neighboring republics The territorial claim of the 
two countries The United States an impartial friend Mexico reminded of her own 
policy and principles in the past Continuance of the correspondence relative to the 
broken relations of Mexico and Guatemala Blaine discusses the question at issue 
between them Mexico urged to stand by her own pretensions in favor of justice and 
equity Wish of the United States that both republics may possess a permanent and 
efficient government Instructions to be communicated to the Mexican Minister of 
Foreign Affairs Continuation of the subject in the state paper of November, 1881 
The United States unwilling that hostilities shall exist between the neighboring 
republics Mexico urged to refrain from war Question of the boundary of Chiapas 
Concession that Mexico may act as she pleases The Mexican Minister reminded of 
his own statements Concerning General Barrios Advocacy of a Central-American 
union Reproof of Mexico for her opposition to federalism Assassination of Czar 



CONTENTS. xix 

Alexander Blaine's paper on the subject to the American Minister Expressions of 
sympathy for the Russian ruler and his predecessor A reminder of Russia's attitude 
towards our country in the Civil War The Czar to be informed of the sentiments of 
the American Government Question of a peace-congress considered Sending out 
of invitations to the American republics to entertain the project Reasons why such 
a congress should be promoted The year 1882 selected for the meeting Arguments 
in favor of universal peace Disclaimer of interference on the part of the United 
States The Argentine Republic first invited Death of Garfield annuls the enterprise- 
Response of the South- American republics Blaine retires from the Garfield Cabinet, 307-362 

CHAPTER XV. 

INTERNATIONAL SPIRIT AND DIPLOMACY - SECOND PERIOD. 

Fascination of the American mind for the great Secretary Blindness of history- 
Necessity of Blaine's retirement from the Garfield ministry He is recalled under 
Harrison A clear field before him The Samoan imbroglio Blaine's paper of 
instruction to the American Embassy to Germany Citations from a paper by Secre- 
tary Bayard Review of the Samoan complication Report of special agent Bates 
Reason for peaceable settlement of the difficulty Bismarck's statement to Mr. 
Pendleton The latter is instructed by Bayard Antecedents of the proposed confer- 
ence The course of the German Government reprehended The removal of Malietoa 
discussed The United States protests against the course of the Imperial Govern- 
ment Urges the restoration of the status in quo Second quotation from Bayard's 
correspondence Desire of the United States to co-operate in securing justice in 
Samoa Summary of the German propositions on the subject Objections of the 
United States to the proposed plan Obligations of the American Government to 
protect American rights in the South Pacific Further reasons why the United States 
cannot accept the German scheme of settlement Outline of the American plan for 
settling the existing trouble Quotation from special agent Bates on the subject 
Summary of the proposed condition of peace Wish of the Government that the 
status in quo may be restored Blaine objects to submitting citizens of the United 
States to foreign police inspection Satisfactory settlement of the difficulty The 
question of importing American pork products into France Diplomacy of the swine 
Blaine's paper of June, 1889, to Minister Reid He protests against the exclusion of 
American pork and shows the innocence of commerce in that article Encloses paper 
from the Chicago Board of Trade Outline of the document Minister Reid author- 
ized to secure the opening of French ports to the interdicted articles Success of the 
negotiation Blaine's circular on the importation of foreign laborers Original act 
restricting the importation of aliens Masters of vessels to be held responsible for 
violation of the law Exception in favor of skilled labor The amendatory act 
Secretary of the Treasury charged with the duty of executing the statute Persons 
violating the prohibition to be sent back to their homes Provision for examination 
and tabular statement Method of returning prohibited immigrants Report respect- 
ing offenders and offending vessels Blaine seeks to encourage trade with Mexico 
Appointment of Rusk as Secretary of Agriculture Paper of the Beet Producers' Asso- 
ciation Question of contagious diseases among cattle Report of Mr. Coleman from 
the Bureau of Animal Industry Difficulty of preventing the spread of animal dis- 
eases along the Mexican border Views of Secretary Rusk The interests of the 
United States and Mexico mutual Apparition of the Behring Sea controversy 
Blaine's paper of January, 1S90, to Sir Julian Pauncefote Nature of the question 
between our Government and that of Great Britain Are the sealing seas open 
or shut? Danger of killing seals in open waters Claim of the United States to 
special rights in the seal fisheries of Alaska Russia formerly enjoyed a monopoly 



XX 



CONTENTS. 

there Such right transferred to the United States Canadian ships invade the sealing 
waters Danger of exterminating the seal Analogy of the sealing and cod fisheries 
The two cases not parallel Blaine deprecates lawlessness in Behring Sea The 
United States will give and take Difficulty of maintaining the position of the Amer- 
ican Secretary Paper of May, 1890, to the British Government Further protest 
against the conduct of the British sealers Minister Phelps' communication on the 
subject Lord Salisbury's position Negotiations on the subject in London Propo- 
sition for a seal convention Outline of the arrangement Hope of the United States 
that the difficulty would be settled An order of Parliament necessary Further 
account of the controversy Second paper from Minister Phelps Blaine outlines the 
things necessary for a settlement Proposition for an open season and a closed 
season Necessity of protecting the rookeries Great Britain charged with changing 
her policy Review of the circumstances which led to the difficulty Blaine vindi- 
cates his abilities as a diplomatist His paper to Pauncefote of December, 1890 
Meaning of the northwest coast discussed Views of Great Britain controverted 
Bancroft's map of the disputed land and seas Provisions of the treaty between the 
United States and Russia Contention of Lord Salisbury His position refuted Proof 
from authentic map What was the sea of Kamschatka? Difference between Behring 
Sea and the Pacific Ocean Fur companies and their value Further citations from 
Bancroft's history of Alaska History of the fur companies Impolicy of opening all 
ports to free hunting The Russian- American Company in particular Former freedom 
of Behring Sea from the fur hunter The Russian title to those waters transferred to 
the United States The historical argument on the question The United States 
enjoyed undisputed rights for a decade Adams' instructions to the American 
Minister The United States must maintain her claim to such rights as were pur- 
chased from Russia Middleton's memorandum to Count Nesselrode Further cita- 
tions from the same author Blaine demonstrates his own consistency Refutation 
of Salisbury's argument Further historical citations Incipiency of the fur industry 
in Behring Sea True sense of the Russo-American treaty Question of the marine 
league limit True method of preserving the seal fisheries What may rightfully be 
done by the contending governments The Pribylov Islands Great Britain's propo- 
sition to arbitrate Reasons for declining the offer America will arbitrate on certain 
conditions What they are The American Government does not demand that 
Behring Sea shall be mare clausum Voluminousness of Blame's diplomatical corre- 
spondence His papers on the Halifax award Third year of the Harrison adminis- 
tration Rise of the Italian imbroglio The affair at New Orleans Attitude of the 
newspaper press Temperate tone of Blaine's correspondence on the subject Slow- 
ness of the American Government to act Blaine's paper of March 15, 1891 Desire 
of the United States to deal justly with Italy Intemperance of Governor Nicholls 
Blaine's second official note He replies to Humbert's demand for reparation Baron 
Fava changes his language Difficult position of the United States The President 
cannot give assurance in advance Discussion of Baron Fava's demands Promise 
that the New Orleans tragedy shall be investigated Blaine's dispatch to Imperiali 
Demands of the Marquis Rudini Public opinion in Italy Blaine shows the impolicy 
of Rudini' s position The United States will stand by her treaties Historical prece- 
dents on the question Webster and the Spanish claim for indemnity Quotation 
from Webster The right of judicial remedy Provisions of the Louisiana code in 
cases of mob violence Difference between the mob of 1891 and that of 185 1 The 
United States does not insure the lives and property of Italian subjects Nature of 
the treaty stipulations between the two countries Victims of the mob Constitutional 
weakness of our system in such cases The Chilian complication Blaine's paper of 
January, 1892 Account of the violence done to American rights in Valparaiso The 



CONTENTS. xxi 

PAGE 

Government will insist on the administration of justice What rules should charac- 
terize diplomacy and international intercourse Ministers Moutt and Matta Note from 
the latter Imminence of war The danger passes Apology from the Chilian Gov- 
ernment The same is accepted by the United States Resume of the policies and 
diplomatical measures of Blaine His genius was that of action and contest, . . . 363-440 

CHAPTER XVI. 

BLAINE'S EULOGIES. 

The Greeks Invent the Eulogy Modern eulogistic methods History a eulogy 
Blaine's address on Zachariah Chandler An account of his ancestry His rise to 
eminence in Michigan His influence in forming the Republican party Governor 
of Michigan An anti-slavery agitator Chandler in Congress Condition of affairs 
on his entrance into the Senate He becomes a leader Comparison with his col- 
leagues A national character His career in the Senate Enlargement of his fame 
Minister of the Interior under Grant Chandler's faults Review of his character 
Tragedy of Garfield's death Burial of the President Blaine chosen his eulogist 
The address Garfield's ancestry Laws of descent and results of great parentage 
The childhood and youth of Garfield What Webster said of himself Garfield's 
frontier life His honorable independence Early struggles and formation of char- 
acter Opportunities of education Garfield in the army His service in Eastern 
Kentucky Success of his campaign Further military career He rises to official 
rank Serves under Buell Becomes chief of staff to General Rosecrans Helps to 
reorganize the army of the Cumberland His preference for military service Is 
elected to the House of Representatives Accepts the place Character of his dis- 
trict Hard ordeal of the House of Representatives Youth of Garfield on entering 
the arena His growth to influence His reservation of strength His long and suc- 
cessful career as Congressman Garfield as a lawyer As an orator and debater His 
genius for work Rapidity and skill of his employments Not a great parliamentary 
leader Comparison with English and American parliamentarians Pre-eminence of 
Clay Illustrious names of the American House How Garfield differed from them 
Industry of the latter His speeches and policies His adherence to principles 
Likeness to Lord George Bentinck Garfield is nominated and elected to the Presi- 
dency His self-possession Danger to candidates of writing and speaking Men 
prepare their own defeat Garfield's seventy speeches of 1880 In the Presidency 
The annoyances of office His application to duty His Cabinet meetings His effort 
to restore harmony between the North and the South His ambition for success 
The break in the Republican party The assassination Religious element in Gar- 
field's character His liberality His scientific sympathies Simplicity of his faith- 
Tolerance The last days of his life Breaking of household ties His complacency 
at the end Greatness of the eulogy Blaine's memorial address on General Grant 
Nature of hero-worship Who the hero is The monopoly of fame The immortality 
of Grant Basis of his fame Providence over human affairs Grant's military 
supremacy and how it was earned Rare qualities of the man Courage for the 
unexpected Grant's readiness and self-possession I l'Is career in civil office The 
flag of truce Summary of Blaine's qualities as a eulogist 44 I_ 476 

CHAPTER XVII. 

BLAINE AS A MAN OF LETTERS. 

Disappearance of the Literary Habit from Public Life Disadvantages of Con- 
gressmen in the matter of composition Blaine's pre-eminence in this particular His 
history of the National Congress His ability to deduce the true historical value of 
events His skill in estimating men's lives His dispassion His ability to discuss 



xxii CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

national questions and depict results Limitations of his work subject to the second 
volume His views on reconstruction and on the policy of Johnson His justice to 
Garfield Review of the Johnsonian vetoes and the impeachment The work illus- 
trates the author's capacities as a man of letters He was himself a part of his book 
He contributes to "Columbus and Columbia" his thesis on "The Progress and 
Development of the Western World" He shows the conditions prevalent in anti- 
quity General survey of the marvels of ancient times The omission of the common 
man from Old World history Gradual emergence of the individual Men gain 
freedom Authority is held to account The trance of the Dark Ages Man revives 
and democracy is triumphant Invention of printing Epoch at which the invention 
came Nature of the Renaissance First making of paper Other coincident dis- 
coveries Excellence of mediaeval art House of the Medici Intellectual activity in 
Florence Pre-eminence of Lorenzo His patriotism and generosity No republic 
yet Foreshadowings of a higher form of government Example of the Italian free 
cities The old order changeth Coming of Columbus His nativity and early life 
His aspirations and ambitions Tribute to his name and memory He did not come 
by chance Europe was prepared for the event by vicissitude and by culture Colum- 
bus was the principal actor in a great drama Swarms of discoverers Partition of the 
New World Transfer of maritime power Spain obtains the lead France and the 
other powers follow after Early plantage in America Four centuries of change and 
development Evolution of the great Republic The Old World had failed in the 
experiment of government Gold cannot buy freedom Our war of independence 
The Republic weak at first The cradle and early nurture of Liberty Comments on 
Napoleon Results of the French Revolution Rise of the people Royalty towards 
its duty Napoleon's estimate of kings He failed to trust the people The restora- 
tion The Corsican's comment on the English Government Destruction of- the 
Divine right Europe will be Cossack or Republican Our Government in its first 
one hundred years Incompatibility of freedom and slavery All nations march 
towards Liberty The great leaders looked to the dawn Bourbonism only a shadow 
"The House of Braganca has ceased to reign "English monarchy no more than a 
shadow America belongs to Americans There shall be liberty and the pursuit of 
happiness Rejoicing for material comfort and peace The world but the abode of 
spirit The scene of spiritual activity Our country must be pure and purified 
Foreignisin must not overwhelm us Pauperism must not crush us Liberty is the 
first law America is for the living Our continent is for humanity America uplifts 
the individual The Republic hails man The brotherhood of humanity A corner- 
stone of religion None shall abuse freedom The American woman shall preserve 
her fame and that of the Republic Blaine's life and spirit best revealed in his 

writings, 477-504 




James G. Blaine Frontispiece. 

Blaine's Birthplace 34 

Blaine's Family Group 37 

Scene at Valley Forge 36 

Scene in Cumberland Valley 38 

Washington and Jefferson College 45 

Alexander Hamilton 48 

The Old Blaine Burying Ground, Augusta, 

Me 52 

Stanwood Residence at Augusta 53 

Michael M. Williams 57 

Fac-simile Letter of Resignation 59 

Kennebec Journal Building 64 

Blaine's Editorial Desk 67 

Fremont on the Rockies 79 

View of Portland 82 

Blaine at twenty-eight 83 

Warfare on Kansas Border 84 

John Brown's Fort and Harper's Ferry.... 85 

View of the Capitol at Augusta, Me 87 

Monitor and Blockade Runner 92 

View of Augusta 95 

Attack on Fort Sumter 96 

Charge at Gettysburg ... 97 

George B. McClellan 103 

Roscoe Conkling 108 

Surrender of Lee 106 

James G. Blaine in the Speakership 116 

A. H. Stephens 120 

Thomas A. Hendricks 121 

Blaine Refuting the Mulligan Letters 132 

General Selden Connor 138 

General Grant's Home in Galena 140 

Chester A. Arthur 142 

From Canal Boy to the Presidency 143 

Blaine's Washington Home 144 

Chicago Convention 145 

Striking Incidents in Blaine's Career 147 



%- 



Blaine's Contest for the Presidency 

John A. Logan 

Blaine in 1884 

Benjamin Harrison 

Bird's-eye View of Washington 

The State Dining Room White House... 
Mr. Blaine During Pan-American Congress, 

East Room Executive Mansion 

Blue Room White House 

Grover Cleveland 

H. W. Knight 

Blaine Writing Paris Letter 

Blaine's Summer Home at Bar Harbor 

Homes and Birthplaces of Great Americans, 

Steamer City of New York 

Thomas B. Reed, of Maine 

J. W. Foster, Secretary of State 

Stephen B. Elkins, Secretary of War 

Joseph H. Manley, of Maine 

Senator W. P. Frye, of Maine 

Charles Foster, Secretary of Treasury 

John W. Noble, Secretary of Interior 

Blaine's Residence at Augusta, Me 

The South Parish Congregational Church, 

Augusta, Me 

State Capitol, Augusta, Me 

Millard Fillmore 

James Buchanan 

Hannibal Hamlin 

James K. Polk 

George B. McClellan 

Thaddeus Stevens 

Wall Street, New York 

General Butler 

Salmon P. Chase 

William P. Fessenden 

Hugh McCulloch 

Treasury Building, Washington, D. C 



PAGE 
149 I 

I50 
151 
155 
159 

163 

!75 
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192 

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204 

213 

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259 
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(xxiiij 



XXIV 



ILLUSTRATIONS. 



State, War and Navy Departments' Build- 
ing, Washington, I). C 

Panama Canal 

Ferd. de Lesseps 

View in Colon Terminus Panama Canal, 

Matachin Excavator at Work 

James Russell Lowell 

I ,( >r< 1 Greenville 

Earl of Clarendon 

Lord Napier 

Expulsion of Jews from Village ofTedolsk, 
Russia 

Chili-Peruvian War Defeat of Peruvians 
at Tacna 

Chili-Peruvian War Chilians Capturing 
Pisagua 

General Kilpatrick 

President Calderon, of Peru 

President Diaz, of Mexico 

Don Matios Romero, Mexican Minister.... 

Gen. M. L- Barellas, President of Guatemala, 

Sefior Ignacio Mariscai, Mexican Secre- 
tary of State 

View of Guatemala 

M. Herrara, Guatemalan Minister 

General F. Rufino Barrios, late President 
of Guatemala 

Hon. J.W. Foster, U. S. Minister to Russia, 

V. G. Quisada, Argentine Minister to the 
Tinted States 

Government House and Post Office, 
Buenos Ayres, Argentine Republic. . . . 

M. G. Celman, President of Argentine 
Republic 

Hon. F. T. Frelinghuysen, ex-Secretary 
of State 

Patent Office, Washington, D. C 

Blaine's Samoan Diplomacy 

Thomas F. Bayard, ex-Secretary of State, 

Hon. George H. Pendleton, U. S. Minis- 
ter to Berlin 

German Gunboats Shelling the Samoans 
at Pago Pago 

Whitelaw Reid 

Importation of Contract Labor into the 
United States 

Hon. C. S. Fairchild, Secretary of the 
Treasury 

Hon. J. M. Rusk, Secretary of Agriculture, 

Cattle Ranch of Texas Border 

Norman J. Colman, Commissioner of 
Agriculture 



283 
39 
39 
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312 

3H 
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322 
325 

333 

336 

337 
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33i 

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387 
388 

389 



PAGE 

The Capitol, Washington, D. C 391 

United States Revenue Cutter " Rush " in 

the Bay of Sitka 393 

Aleutian Islands, Behring Sea 397 

Marquis of Salisbury 399 

Hon. E. J. Phelps, United States Minister 

to Great Britain 401 

Natives Spearing a Drive of Seals 403 

Interior of Hut of Well-to-do Native 406 

Fort Wrangell, Alaska 409 

The Seal Fisheries of Alaska Scenes on 

the Island of St. Paul 417 

Naval Battle at Sea 424 

Marquis A. di Rudini, Italian Premier 425 

Governor F. T. Nichols, of Louisiana 426 

Baron Saveuo Fava, Italian Minister 427 

Fac-simile of Rudini 's Telegram 429 

The Parish Prison, New Orleans 432 

Victims of the Mob, New Orleans 434 

U. S. Cruiser "Baltimore" 436 

City of Valparaiso 437 

Hon. Patrick Egan, U. S. Minister to Chili, 438 
Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beacousfield. . . . 439 

Zachariah Chandler 442 

General Cass 442 

Charles Sumner 445 

James A. Garfield 448 

The Pilgrim Fathers 450 

Garfield's Birthplace 451 

Garfield on the Canal 452 

Garfield Checking Humphrey Marshall's 

Advance 454 

General Rosecrans 455 

General Thomas 456 

Blaine Reading Messages of Sympathy to 

Mrs. Garfield 457 

Lawnfield the Home of President Gar- 
field, at Mentor 458 

Henry Clay 460 

John Quincy Adams 462 

Horace Greeley 463 

Garfield at Chicarnauga 465 

Assassination of Garfield 468 

Last Look at the Sea 469 

Grant's Tomb at Riverside 471 

Grant's Tomb (interior) 472 

U.S. Grant 473 

Blaine and Arthur at Garfield's Casket.... 475 
Distinguished Union Army and Navy 

Officers 481 

Distinguished Confederate Generals 487 

The Last Scenes 493 




BLAINE-A TYPE. 




VERY age has produced its typical men. Every country 
has had them and has profited by them. The type- 
men stand higher than the multitude. They are to 
the masses what the composite photograph is to the 
many faces that give it character. The philosophy 
of the photograph is this : it expresses the common 
and, therefore, the perfected humanity of all. It pre- 
sents the average humanity, and at the same time the 
highest. He who has given close attention to the 



character of the composite will be surprised to find in it the 
existence of a// } and to note, what is much more important, 
namely, the sublimation of all into spirituality and beauty. It 
is possible to take a large group of persons and to transform 
their faces into one, so that that one shall be at once beautiful 
and spiritual suggesting the fine faces of the old masters. 

It is thus in the type-man of a given period. He is its 
average expression, and at the same time its highest expression. 
In the nature of the case he must be one of many. There is 
a cnrions sentiment of Lavater, that the proportion of genius 
to the vulgar is like one to a million ; but genius without 
tyranny, without pretension, that genius which judges the weak with equity, 
the superior with humanity, and equals with justice, is like one to ten millions! 
Certain it is that we cannot look upon a really great man without advan- 
tage to ourselves. The more we study him the greater will be our profit from 

(xxv) 



NXvi INTRODUCTION. 

observation and knowledge of his methods, deeds and thoughts. For us the man 
of the epoch is a living light-fountain, which it is good and pleasant to be near; 



a 



light which lightens the dark places of the world and the gloom of human 
hearts ; and this, not as a kindled lamp only, but rather as a natural luminary, 
shining by the grace of the spirit; a brilliant source of native, original inspira- 
tion, of manhood, and heroism, in whose radiance all minds are cheered and 

ennobled. 

In the world's records the typical men are not too plentiful. The history 
of some is interleaved with the annals of those times called barbaric, and of the 
dark ages back of barbarism ; but even then they sowed the seeds of that 
civilization which has fructified and flourished in the liberal enlightenment of 
the present day. 

From the earliest ages of human history the type-men have appeared here 
and there. They have come according to the demands of the given age. Some- 
times they have appeared in the midst of sorrows, wars and pestilence. Some- 
times they have come as the redressers of wrong. In one age the type-man is 
Alexander or Socrates. Sometimes the type-man is a conqueror, and sometimes 
a martyr for truth. Sometimes he lives and flourishes, and anon he dies. In 
all cases his life enters into the life of the epoch and is transmitted to after ages. 

Far back in the centuries the type-men appear as the topmost points of light 
in the landscape of the world. In such ages the deeds and lives of the type- 
men are substantially the history of the times in which they live. What they 
accomplished becomes the most instructive part of human annals. How much 
interest, for example, would the history of the eighth century possess for the 
reader of to-day were the achievements of Charlemagne omitted ? He it was 
whose master-mind laid the first solid foundation for a permanent system of 
government and institutions in an age of doubt and darkness. He was the 
author of many of the best laws of mediaeval Europe. He was the promoter 
of the best elements of civilization. Succeeding to an empire torn by intestine 
feuds, he checked its turbulence with vigor and address ; compelled the recog- 
nition of national law ; inspired the wide circuit of Europe with a common 
interest and common objects, and led men to pursue these interests and to 
maintain these objects with collective counsel as well as with united efforts. 

This great Middle-Age type-man founded the original of all royal societies 
and academies, and was the first to combine in one military monarchy a feudal 
nobility, a somewhat free commons and a kind of constitutional assembly of 
States. He may be regarded as the father of the modern State system of Europe. 
He has claims, which are universally acknowledged, to the regard and venera- 
tion of the ages which have benefited from his doings and his life. The world 



INTRODUCTION. xxvii 

dates a new era from his wise and beneficent reign. Insensibly it may be, but 
surely, his spirit pervades the thoughts and polities of all modern nations, 
teaching them, by precept and example which cannot be too highly esteemed, 
how best to pursue the gradual paths of an aspiring change. 

It were possible to select example after example of the typical life among 
the various peoples who have risen and flourished in Western Europe. France, 
Germany, England, Italy have abounded in characters of this kind. From the 
day of Godfrey to the day of Count Cavour ; from Richelieu to Gambetta ; from 
Cromwell to Wellington ; from Barbarossa to Bismarck, we find such characters 
standing here and there, lifted somewhat above their age, but expressing its 
common hope as well as its loftiest purpose. 

In like manner the history of our own country has been adorned with the 
names of type-men as great as the greatest. The student of American annals 
need not seek far to find such names and to share the common glory which 
they have diffused in the Western Hemisphere, and indeed throughout the 
world. It was our good fortune to begin our active governmental life as a 
people under the influence and guidance of one such a man. Washington was 
in every sense the expression of the common hope of our colonial Americans, 
and at the same time the expression of the highest honor, loyalty and patriot- 
ism of that period in history. He was a man whose judgment was ripened by 
the most arduous experience in the struggle for his country's independence ; 
whose intelligence was comprehensive and admirably adapted to the exigencies 
of his administration. Every word of high encomium yet applied to man belongs 
to him ; for in his eyes duty was the law of correct life ; duty, the upholding 
principle through which the weakest become strong ; without which all strength 
is unstable as water. 

Washington believed that the conviction of duty implies the soundest reason, 
the strongest obligation of which our nature is susceptible, and while " he stood 
firm before the thunder, he yet worshiped the still, small voice." Duty he 
regarded as the prompting of conscience. Washington was a conscientious 
man ; and his intelligence directed conceptions of duty to heroic deeds. An 
auspicious occasion assisted him ; but any occasion for the exercise of heroism 
would have proved equally auspicious. Patriotism, nobility and soldiership are 
all synonyms of duty, and these qualities culminated in his life. He was the 
man of the eighteenth century, as was Charlemagne of the eighth not so much 
by force of his genius as by his purity and trustworthiness. He was faithful 
in small things as well as in great. Every talent conferred upon him was put 
to the best possible use. He followed the dictates of conscience whatever way 
they led. " Honest, truthful, diligent," were the catch-words of his creed. His 



xxvm 



INTRODUCTION. 



best products, as are those of all deliberate men, were happy and sanctifying 
thoughts, which, when once formed and put into practice, are capable of extending 
their fertilizing influence from generation to generation for thousands of years. 

The life of Washington has been so often written that it is unnecessary 
in this place to refer to it further than to point out the thorough conscien- 
tiousness, the self-sacrificing spirit, the purity of motive with which he entered 
upon and carried to completion the liberation and independence of his country. 
No man could be more pure, no man more self-denying. In victory he was 
self-controlled ; in defeat, unshaken. Throughout he was magnanimous and pure. 
In his life it is difficult to learn which to admire most ardently, the nobility 
of his character, the firmness of his patriotism, or the purity of his conduct ; 
but the combination made him a man of divine temper, and " take him for all 
in all," it is not to be expected that we shall look upon his like again. 

The intermediate period in our country's history is not wanting in men 
worthy to be the successors of the great archetypes of the revolutionary age. 
It would appear that statesmanship in America at length succeeded to the sword. 
The violence of our first age was succeeded by the intellectual contests of the 
second period. The first age had been the age of the making of the constitu- 
tion. The second age was the period of the interpretation and application of 
the constitution. It was an age of adjustments and adaptations. The institu- 
tions of the coirntry had been formed theoretically in expectation of national 
wants and conditions. At length the genius of America arose and must be 
fitted to the work of the fathers. That work had to be interpreted for the 
American mind, and adjusted to the facts which had arisen spontaneously in 
the second quarter of our century. 

The interpreters were the type-men of that age. They were great in their 
kind. The fame of Webster and Clay, of Calhoun and Benton was well earned 
in the contentions of a great arena. They were the successors of Hamilton and 
Marshall. They filled up a large part of the public histories of our country 
for a considerable section of time. They shone with peculiar lustre through all 
the domains of the expanding Republic, and were seen from remote distance 
across the seas. Already the American name had been recognized for a half 
century or more in the highest circles of European thought and purpose. 
Franklin had made us great, not only in France, but throughout Western 
Europe. 

Just as the type-men of the fourth and fifth decades took the character of pub- 
licists, jurists and orators turning as it were the reverse civil side of American 
life to the obverse side of war so the obverse side came again with the epoch 
of disunion. Then arose a new class of statesmen and public men. Just as 



INTRODUCTION. xxix 

the old style of literary production had given place to new creative methods, 
conforming more strictly to the American genius, and less assimilated to British 
models, so a new type of men arose, strictly American, great in stature, patri- 
otic and powerful. 

Of this kind was the immortal Lincoln. His greatness, both intellectual 
and moral, was as gigantic as it was inexplicable. 

"E'en to the dullest peasant standing by, 
Who fasten' d still on him a wondering eye, 
He seemed the master-spirit of the land." 

He was incomparable, and his character and achievements more difficult of 
analysis than those of any American in history. The great charms of the man 
were his honesty, geniality and faithfulness, and these will always remain the 
pre-eminent charms of our poor humanity. But we must not forget that Lincoln 
encountered obstacles, assumed duties, and cast out impediments which were 
entirely unknown to American citizenship previous to his time. Difficulties and 
calamities sharpened his apprehension, and called into activity all the faculties 
of his powerful intellect. His mind was brightest in disaster most alert under 
defeat. 

It has been said that Madame de Maintenon would never have approached 
a throne had not her cradle been rocked in a prison. So with hundreds who have 
risen to greatness. There was needed something in their path before they could 
rise to the gaze of the world. Difficulties are a mere stimulus to men like 
Lincoln, supplying the discipline which greatly assists their onward and 
upward course. He, like thousands of great men before him, was a disciple of 
Plato, but, perhaps, unconsciously so ; at any rate he followed the advice of that 
wonderful philosopher, " Let men of all ranks, whether they are successful or 
unsuccessful, rest satisfied." 

But the qualities of Lincoln most difficult of analysis were those which 
compelled the admiration and respect of the civilized world ; which conquered 
the prejudices of political opponents, and commanded the love of all who knew 
him personally. Said a Virginian who had called upon him at the prompting 
of idle curiosity : " I believe he is the greatest man in the world. When I 
went there I expected to find a fellow to make fun of; but I am the one to 
laugh at ! He knows more about my State than I do, and I was born in ' Old 
Virginia,' and thought I knew all about her." 

The incident appears simple in the reading, but it illustrates the power of 
Lincoln over every mind with which he came in contact. And this is the 
power no one has yet attempted to analyze, although some observers call it 



XXX 



INTRODUCTION. 



" personal magnetism," and seem content to pass it without attempting explana- 
tion. It was possessed in a large degree by Henry Clay, and attracted the people 
toward him like the obedient steel which turns forever to the pole. Garfield 
had the same power in a degree which remains a wonder to his friends ; and 
Blaine was endowed with it almost * beyond precedent or example. It is 
the magnetism if that is the proper term of intellectual supremacy; the 
regality of mind which is apparent to the world, but of which the possessor 
is unconscious; which cannot result from instruction, but is self-born and 
springs up in the midst of disadvantages. It works its solitary but irresistible 
way 'through all obstacles, while nature seems to delight in disappointing the 
assiduities with which art seeks to convert dullness to brilliancy. 

Nature scatters the seeds of genius to the winds ; and though some may 
perish among the stony places of the world, and some may be choked by the 
thorns and brambles of early adversit}', yet others will now and then strike 
root even in the clefts of the rock, struggle bravely up into the sunshine, and 
spread over their sterile birthplace all the beauties of vegetation. Although 
genius may be conscious of its advantages in minds like those referred to, it 
is rarely aware of its superiority to associate minds ; its achievements which others 
celebrate are frequently but its ordinary performances. 

One of the highest forms of human force is that which combines military 
genius with statesmanship. It is as it were the union of physical agencies 
with thought the combination of body and spirit. This form of force was 
exemplified in many of our type-men in the epoch under consideration. A few 
were statesmen pure and simple. A still larger number were military leaders 
quite innocent of civic abilities. But many have the combination of both 
powers. Such men are at once the glory and the menace of their country. 
When history presents a character combining in itself the genius of the military 
captain with the genius of statesmanship, and the union is inflamed with ambi- 
tion, the resultant personage is likely to be the pride and the danger of his age. 
This is true in particular of democracies and republics. Fortunately, however, 
if the republic be one of intelligence and virtue, if it be dominated by the 
aristocracy of patriotism, the danger from such source is reduced to a minimum. 
Many of our statesmen of the civil war period might have been successful 
generals in the field. Some successful generals showed themselves to be also 
men of the cabinet. Not a few had great ambitions ; but it does not appear 
that a single one had the ambition or desire to say nothing of the power 
to subvert his country. 

It was in this great group of type-men that James G. Blaine made his 
appearance. He came in the guise of a statesman. He appeared as a type of 



INTRODUCTION. xxxi 

the American statesman's life and character. We shall have occasion in another 
part to dwell upon the fact that Blaine was distinctively a man of civil propen- 
sities. We call such a civilian, to distinguish him from the military leader. 
It is clear that Blaine did not possess military talents ; or if he possessed any 
gift in that direction, it was not couspicuous. His was the genius for civil 
affairs. He had the instincts and biases of the political and popular leader. 
He was the type-man of the hustings and the House. 

Let us dwell upon and emphasize this truth as it is fundamental to the 
consideration of Blaine's character and worth. It is well to begin a biography 
with the discovery and exposition of the dominant fact in the life of the 
personage under consideration. A man's life begins with his spirit, his purpose, 
his passion rather than with his birth. We should seize, first of all, the leading 
trait of the man, and allow all the rest to form itself around this central nerve 
of will and personality. Blaine was a civilian a great civilian. That is the 
key to his character and work. He was a man of civil affairs. For this 
work he had a genius and passion. This element of action and desire 
expressed itself in the first movements of his youthful career and continued to 
inspire him until, in his last days, he saw the lingering sunset reflected from 
the dome of the Capitol. 

Not only is this the fundamental characteristic of Blaine's personality and 
place in history, but it is the essential of the type which he represents. 
American life is largely perhaps too largely civil and political. It were well 
if the political passion were not so strong upon us. But it remains true that 
our sixty-five millions sway and bend and fluctuate under the passions and 
motions of the political life. It is thus not far from true to regard the 
politician as the typical American. 

If thus much be conceded, then James G. Blaine may almost be regarded 
as the highest type of American citizen and leader. This is to say, that he 
has expressed in his life and activities a larger part of the common life and the 
common activities of his countrymen than almost any other. Mark the single- 
ness of his career. Though that career has been multifarious, though it has 
ruu deviously, it has nevertheless been as single as it is singular. Blaine 
would be a great statesman. He would rise to the rank of first statesman of 
the age. However much his ship may have been tossed on stormy seas, how- 
ever much the skies may at times have been draped with thick and impene- 
trable clouds, he nevertheless kept ever his eye to the North Star, or to that 
part of his heavens where he thought the North Star was hidden. 

We thus find in the great type-character of which we are to speak in the 
following pages a singular unity as well as persistency of purpose. Let us 



xxxn 



INTRODUCTION. 



premise that Blaine for the present hour is suffering as much from the hurt, 
and obscurations of contemporaneity as he is glorified by the current sympa- 
thies and admiration of his countrymen. We may not as yet discover precisely 
how he will be revealed to the men of the next age. He may be exalted, and 
he may suffer loss. Clay and Webster died forty years ago. Their respective 
statures have been revealed since their going. True, they had the admiration 
of their contemporaries when they passed away ; but the true estimate has come 
afterward. 

So it will be with Blaine. Nearness for the present hour blurs the vision. 
There is spherical and chromatic aberration optical illusions not a few as we 
turn our vision to the life and work of this remarkable personage. Only a 
few tilings are clear and distinct. One is, that he held a large share of the 
interest and admiration of his countrymen for more than a score of years. 
Another is, that he will, in a larger or lesser measure, be regarded hereafter 
as one of the principal type-men of the greatest epoch which has thus far arisen 
in American history. From this point of view we desire to narrate his life and 
work. Not without both interest and esteem for the man and his great part in 
the public events of the last quarter of a century do we enter upon the task 
of recording as much as may at present be gleaned respecting his personal life 
and his conspicuous and dramatic action in the arena of our nationality. 





CHAPTER I. 



ANCESTRY AND EARLY LIFE. 



^HE birth-place of a man is perhaps less important than is 



usually supposed in biography. The particular spot where 
the man begins his career is hardly res gesta of the 
case. He may be born here or there ; the circumstance 
has interest, but is hardly essential to the understanding 
of the given career. It is not the locality, but the descent 
which determines the initial and, to a large degree, the 



pXs future powers of the life in question. 



This is to say, that we need not greatly concern ourselves 
to know that Washington began in Westmoreland or in some 
other county ; that Lincoln was out of Larue or Hardin ; that 
Gr,ant began at Point Pleasant or in some hamlet or cabin away 
from the river. None the less, the reader seeks to know the 
initial point and fixes his attention upon it as the meritorious 
spot from which some form of greatness has sprung. 

We may reflect further that the connection between a man 
and his birth-place between the interest of the one and the 
importance of the other has been somewhat reversed in history. 
It is not the spot of birth that makes great the man, but the man 
who at length makes great the spot of his birth. Not Corsica 
made Napoleon; not Boston, Franklin. It was the "Child of 
the Republic" who made famous forever the island of his birth; and Franklin, 
though a candlemau's son, sent backward from the glory of the French capital 
to the city of his nativity the radiance of his fame. We repeat that not the 
place but the descent the blood and spirit of an ancestry worthy to survive 
makes the being that is to be what he is and will be. This is not fatalism, 
but simply a just allowance for those influences of descent which enter so 
largely into the calculus of human life. 

James Gillespie Blaine had for his birth-place the hamlet of Brownsville, 
in Union township, Washington County, Pa. His birthday was the thirty-first 
of January, 1830. Four days before the night on which he was born Daniel 
Webster had finished in the Senate of the United States his Reply to Hayne 
the greatest oratorical production of the American mind. Perhaps the rumor 
of it for the fame of the event was great in those days was borne to Browns- 
ville, and the father, an intelligent man, may have read the first report of the 
3 (33) 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



So 



great vindication of nationality, by the lamplight, on the evening that his 
illustrious son came into the world. 

The epoch was a stirring one as it respected American statesmanship. The 
War of the Revolution had been fought and won. The second conflict with 
the mother country, which Franklin had foretolcf as the War of Independence, 
had at last been brought to a close, fifteen years before the birth of Blaine. 
American thought had turned from the excitements and passions of the Era 
of Revolution to questions of constitutional government and to the adjustment 
of law to the vindicated rights of man. 

The memory of strife was now lapsing into shadow in the New World and 
the Old. Men on this side of the sea spoke of the battle of New Orleans and 
of the Treaty of Ghent as we now speak of the Chicago fire or the Centennial 
Exposition. Abroad there was the same 
falling away of great memories. The 
Corsican had been for six years lying 
in the earth at Longwood. For a like 
time the fat and redundant Louis XVIII. 
had been gone, by an obese and useless 
exit, from the mortal scene ; and now 
the equally superfluous Charles X. is 
blown awa}^ into nonentit}^. In Eng- 
land, also, dynastic evolution is going on 
clumsily. Gentleman George worst 
misnamed of mortals goes away, and 
the intercalary William IV. comes in in 
the same year with the birth of Blaine. 
For the beginning of the Victorian era 
we shall yet have to wait seven years 
before it comes. 

The ancestors and descent of Blaine 
are worthy of note. The family, on the paternal side, seems to have been 
of remote Anglo-Norman extraction ; the name would indicate as much. The 
great-grandfather, Ephraim Blaine, was an officer in the Revolutionary War. 
He rose to the rank of colonel, and served as commissary-general under 
Washington during that winter of untold hardships when Valley Forge became 
the synonym of sorrow. It appears that while the army was encamped at the 
place just named, Colonel Blaine distinguished himself for indefatigable exer- 
tions in the almost hopeless effort to supply the patriots with the means of 
subsistence and comfort. In that w r ork he consumed a large part of his own 
fortune. If we are to look for an ancestral impress, directing the thought and 
purpose of a descendant to patriotic nationality, we might find it in the devo- 
tion of Colonel Ephraim Blaine to the cause of his country and his countrymen 
in the cruel winter of 1777-78. 




w 



DANLEI, WEBSTER. 



36 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



The Blaine family was aforetime of good New England stock. It had been 
a long time in the country and had contracted both the merits and demerits 
of the colonial character. The grandson of Ephraim Blaine was Ephraim 
L. Blaine. He, too. was a man of character and force. He was a leader in the 
affairs of his county, a magistrate of great influence, and exemplified in his 
life and activities the virtues of the new American development. His reputa- 




SCENE AT VALLEY FORGE. 



tion has been transmitted as that of a liberal and hospitable gentleman, full of 
the genial sociability which was destined to be so strongly developed in his 
eldest son. The home of Ephraim L. Blaine in the Cumberland Valley was a 
point of attraction in the neighborhood. It was regarded as an intellectual 
centre as well as a place of refinement, good manners and literary spirit. 

The branch of the Blaine family with which we have to do in this nar- 
rative removed to western Pennsvlvania, and established itself in Washington 
County, where, as we have seen, James G. Blaine was born. It appears that 




WALKER BLAINE. 
EMMONS BLAINE. 



FAMILY GROUP. 



MRS. JAMES G. BLAINE. 

MR. BLAINE'S MOTHER. 

OLD BLAINE HOMESTEAD. 



JAMES G. BLAINE, JR. 
MRS. DAMROSCH. 



88 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



the elder Blaine, that is, Ephraim L., was one of those unfortunates in whom 
generosity contends with what the world calls " business sense " for the mastery ; 
and worse still according to our standards the generosity prevailed. His 
habit of good deeds and much giving sapped his moderate means, and it is not 




SCENE IN CUMBERLAND VALLEY. 



improbable that he sought to repair his fortunes by establishing himself in a 
more quiet part of the Quaker Commonwealth. There he has left behind him 
among old friends and neighbors, some of whom still survive, the tradition of 
a life and character in which singular integrity and simple manners are 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 39 

celebrated with the fondness which the children have for the memory of the 
older men of the community. 

Let us not forget the mother. Her maiden name was Maria Gillespie. 
She was of Scotch-Irish parentage ; daughter of a Catholic family that had 
established itself in the Cumberland Valley. There Ephraim Blaine found her, 
and, notwithstanding the break between his own Presbyterianism and her 
Catholicism, took her in marriage. It would appear that there was an agree- 
ment between them of mutual toleration on the religious question. At any rate, 
the difference in .faiths seems never to have distressed the family, though it was 
well calculated to do so. It may be agreed that the union was, religiously 
considered, of a kind to introduce cross-currents in the domestic estate, and 
more particularly in the descendants of the marriage. How subtle and profound 
are the elements of which human life and character are compounded ! 

Maria Gillespie, mother of our statesman, bore the reputation of great intel- 
ligence, commanding beauty and quick observation. To these she added other 
sterling qualities of head and heart. Without doubt it is to her that James G. 
Blaine is most indebted for his native powers, as also for the early training 
which laid in his intellectual and moral nature the foundations of his pre- 
eminence among his countrymen. It is always so. The moral and psycho- 
logical formulse under which we begin our lives are obscure enough, but it 
remains that the genius of each son of man is transmitted from his mother. 
It is the glory' of her estate to build up the glory of the world by contributing 
to it a light and splendor of which mere fatherhood is incapable ! 

The home of Blaine's father continued to be in the Cumberland Valley, 
where his ancestors had lived, until the year 1S18, when, as we have said, he 
removed to Washington Count}', which might then be regarded as in that indefinite 
place called the West. In that year Illinois was admitted into the Union ; two 
years previously, Indiana ; one year afterwards, Alabama. We were spreading 
out territorially towards the Father of Waters and the mountains. In two years 
the question of Maine and Missouri will be on. The issue of American slavery 
will thrust itself into the arena, and the great forces will begin to be adjusted 
which, after the lapse of forty years, shall unmake the Union, but make it 
again more glorious than before. 

The Blaine family had been well-to-do in worldly resources. Ephraim L. 
Blaine had a considerable fortune, existing mostly in large possessions of wild 
lands in Western Pennsylvania. At that epoch such possessions were of com- 
paratively small value. The country was broken, and the enormous resources 
in iron and coal had hardly been discovered, to say nothing of development. 
It would appear that the father of the statesman had diminished his properties 
before his removal to Washington County, and that he had difficulty in the 
latter place in creating an estate. He was not a man of large or read}' means, 
and a growing family put him in worse and still worse condition as it respected 
money and property. 



40 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

Perhaps the training of the elder Blaine was not favorable to great busi- 
ness success. His education, which was liberal, had looked to the law. In his 
earlier years he had improved his information and faculties by traveling in 
Europe and in South America. It is possible that this discipline, while it had 
improved the man, had not developed business capacity. In Western Pennsyl- 
vania he was a farmer and a man of business affairs in the smaller sense, and 
also a notary and county clerk. 

It appears that the home of Ephraim L. Blaine, at Brownsville, was above 
the average in comfort and intellectual attraction. The surviving neighbors 
have given this reputation to the family. The Blaines, while not especially well- 
to-do, were liberal and enlightened folks, and had enough. The head of the 
family was a man who applied himself industriously to his tasks, but, if we 
mistake not, his mind ran to intellectual pursuits more than to such vocations 
as the frontier afforded. It seems that there was intellectual sympathy between 
the father and mother of James G. Blaine. The father was not superior in ability 
or spirit to the wife, but had much larger attainments in scholarship. Both 
have been dead for years. Their graves are in the churchyard at Brownsville, 
near the ancestral home of the statesman. To them, after his rise to influence 
and reputation, he erected the monument which now marks their resting place. 

We here touch the boyhood development of James G. Blaine. As we have 
said above, the youth of all men is alike barren of annals. For a period of 
perhaps ten years most important though it be the youth goes on his way, 
leaving, as it were, no trace of his thoughts or deeds. As a matter of course, 
his thoughts are but the prefignrements of thought, and his deeds only tenta- 
tive. The interest of the period is in this, that we may discover aptitudes and 
the outlines of promise. Even the boyhood of Napoleon had no more than this. 
The boyhood of Frederick the Great must be summed up in a few lines or 
paragraphs. So of all the rest, great and small, whose lives and activities have 
made up the warp and woof of history. 

One of the premonitory signs of the lasting fame of Blaine is the fact 
that tradition and story telling have become rife in the last days, in and 
around "Indian Hill Farm," at West Brownsville. The old "place" has now, 
in great measure, gone to decay. The agricultural interest has virtually dis- 
appeared in the neighborhood before the mining interest. Coal diggers have 
planted themselves where the country squire formerly rode on horseback from 
his home to the neighboring mill or village. " Indian Hill Farm " looks to 
the river. The house itself, in which Blaine was born, has become a relic. 
The alleged veranda has careened towards a topple and the final oblivion of 
dust. There are cracks and rents in the dwelling, and the outside wooden 
steps are fast becoming a reminiscence of the aspiring feet that aforetime made 
them patter. 

As we have said, a few of the antique inhabitants still remain. One is a 
certain Captain Van Hook, who is rising to the octogenarian. The Captain was 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 41 

a relative of Maria Gillespie. He remembers Jimmy Blaine with the fond and 
patronizing memory of old age. He represents the boy to have been a reader of 
books, who permitted his brothers to do the work. The old gentleman alleges 
that his wife was the original discoverer of Jimmy Blaine that is, the dis- 
coverer of his promise. She knew him when he skipped about the door yard. 
The Captain was a friend and neighbor of Ephraim L. Blaine, though con- 
siderably his junior. He says that the elder Blaine never knew how much a 
dollar was worth and that he kept open house the year around. He relates 
also something of the manners which prevailed in the old home. The frontier 
American was, in his day, great in politics. Ephraim L. Blaine was a Whig 
of the Whigs. At his house there were the usual neighborhood political 
debates, and it is said that the boy James used to sit at nights and listen to. 
the endless discussions and personalities of the contention this, while his 
brothers went to bed. 

Another resident of West Brownsville, who has good cause to remember 
the boy Blaine, is J. E. Adams, who was a schoolmate of young James. He 
claims that the future Secretary of State was not a very studious lad, but 
that he learned his lessons with extraordinary facility. The memory of Mr. 
Adams teems with recollections of his vivacious playfellow. He gives this 
story of a certain contest in which he himself was worsted : 

"Jimmy and his brother Eph, and another boy and myself were down on 
the river bank. The Blaine boys had been forbidden by their father to 
go in swimming, but Eph and we three wanted to break over and go any- 
how. Jimmy would not go in, nor would he promise not to tell. Had he 
promised it would have been square, as his word was good. Eph and he 
went off a bit talking, and then seemed to engage in a quarrel. Eph 
called me to come and lick Jimmy, but I told him to do it himself. Then 
he said he would lick me, too, so I went back to see the trouble. Eph and 
I presently squared up and went at it to his disadvantage. Presently he 
got even and brought me up with a chunk of clay that hit me under 
the chin. Jimmy Blaine and I became firm friends from that altercation. He 
himself was a pretty fair fighter. He was an awkward, thickset boy and not 
nice to handle. But he did not like to fight. In that he was just opposite to 
Eph. Jimmy would not be crowded and when he was crowded he would fight." 

More interesting than this is Mr. Adams' verification of what we shall 
presently refer to, and that is, the boy Blaine's aptitude for mathematics. 
Numbers seem never to have been a puzzle to him. The tradition is also 
verified of the boy's great memory, particularly his memory of faces. It is 
said that after his rise to reputation he returned, on a certain occasion, to the 
old home, and though thirty years had elapsed, was able to recognize his old 
neighbors. 

One thing in the case of the boy Blaine we may note with interest, and 
that is, that his education was undertaken by his parents at home. Whatever 



42 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

we may say of our schools it cannot be doubted that a home education, when 
it is ample and well directed, is the most efficient in the development of 
character. Buckle owed his training wholly to his mother. Of the schools, 
other than that one school, he knew nothing except what he learned by after 
observation ; and for them he cared as little as he knew. But he had facility 
in eleven languages, and laid at least the foundation of one of the greatest 
historical works of the century. 

The task of educating James G. Blaine in his childhood was assumed by 
his mother. It appears that the father also lent a hand. Whatever may be 
said of the narrowness and prejudice of the Scotch-Presbyterian character, it must 
be allowed that it was a character to educate withal. The old half-Celts who 
settled the Virginia and Pennsylvania valleys were given to books such books 
as they were and these they taught to their children with an intensity as hot 
as the channel in which it flowed was narrow. Blaine's early training was 
home-training. The foundations were laid deep in the affections and inspira- 
tions of the hearthstone. 

We do not doubt that Blaine's fine manners were planted here also. The 
world knows his great accomplishments, his preeminence in this particular. 
It is doubtful whether, as a man, debonair and cultured, having the suaviter in 
modo as well as the utile in re, he has had any superior in the public or private 
life of our country. One thing is certain Blaine was a gentleman. He was 
so by nature and certainly so by training. His manners were as easy and 
perfect as they were superior. They combined easily and naturally with the 
enthusiasm of his character, and constituted the elegant dress in which his 
strong personality moved among his compeers and was seen of the people. 
The foundation of all this was laid by his mother and father in the childhood 
home. Such culture is never acquired or not easily acquired after a youth 
has reached his later teens. 

This essential and strong development in boyhood culture continued until 
he had reached the beginning of his twelfth year. It was early in 1841 
that the first foreign movement of the youth is discovered. Hon. Thomas 
Ewing, of Lancaster, Ohio, at that time Secretary of the Treasury under Tyler, 
was a near kinsman by marriage of Ephraim L. Blaine. This relation was 
the origin of a visit, in the year referred to, of James G. Blaine to the home 
of Ewing at Lancaster. It is certain that Blaine was a vivacious, promising 
and handsome boy. The Ewings were delighted with him and a hearty com- 
panionship sprang up, with the readiness of youthful affection, between the 
visitor and his cousin, Thomas Ewing, Jr., who was destined to reach the 
Congress of the United States. 

Young Ewing was half a year older than Blaine, having been born in August 
of 1829. The two lads went to school together at the Lancaster Academy, 
and in this profitable way a considerable part of the following two years 
were passed. Already the spontaneous forces in Blaine were beginning to 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 43 

act We may discover in this early period of his boyhood the first flutter 
of ambitious wings -within him. Between his twelfth and fourteenth years he 
began to think and to act for himself. If we mistake not, the father and mother 
had the discernment to allow their promising boy to follow the bent and 
suggestion of his own nature. Half the boys of the world are spoiled, and 
three-fourths of the other half injured by the unthinking but loving oppression 
of fatherhood and motherhood upon them. This is not to say that fatherhood 
and motherhood can be spared as a developing and directing force over the super- 
fluous energies of boyhood and youth, but only to affirm that he who comes to 
aught must do so by growing in the direction of his own purpose and aspira- 
ration rather than in the direction which an over-fond and anxious father may 
think he ought to take. We believe that Blaine was, at an early day, freed 
from this trammel, and the result has been that the name of Blaine has covered 
with a halo not only his own career but that of his family, his ancestors, and 
let us hope his descendants. 

It was during his stay at Lancaster that he and Thomas Ewing, Jr., both 
boys of thirteen, formed the plan of a collegiate education. They would both 
go to college, become scholars and be men of distinction. Herein is the glory 
of American life. The rest we may omit from the count. America does give 
to the young man, to the boy, a chance. Blessed be the gift of a chance! It 
may be that our country does not now concede the chance as fully and freely 
as she did in the middle of the century. If so, why so much the worse for 
her ! Let not the Republic, if she would survive and be glorious, trammel up 
the chance of any of her boys. The aspiration of the youthful heart must still 
glow and find a way, if we would keep our liberty and hold our rank among the 
nations. 

As for Blaine, he chose to go, after his experience at Lancaster, to Wash- 
ington College, in his native county. Young Ewing, his friend and playmate, 
went to Brown University, where he was educated, and from which he received 
his degree, to become, in 1849-50, private secretary to President Taylor. It is 
probable that the limitation of young Blaine's resources determined the choice 
of a home college rather than a more expensive and renowned college at a 
distance. 

It would seem the college project was well developed by the youth during 
his stay at Lancaster. It is not clear who thought out the methods, but we 
are inclined to give that praise to Thomas Ewing, Sr. That statesman discov- 
ered in his own son and in his son's companion the aptitudes which they 
possessed, and encouraged and directed somewhat their boyish counsels in the 
matter of a more complete education. 

It was to this end that a competent instructor was provided for both 
youths at Lancaster. He was a tutor, well trained for his work, and was none 
other than William Lyons, brother of that Lord Lyons, the Englishman, who 
was destined to make a conspicuous appearance at a subsequent period in the 



44 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

diplomacy of our country aud his own. Lyons taught the two ambitious 
youths and prepared them for entrance into college. Perhaps the requirements 
for such entrance, at least into Washington College, were not severe in the 
early part of the fifth decade. At any rate, the boy Blaine was easily fitted by 
his tutor for entrance into the superior institution. This academic and private 
training extended over the years 1841-42. In 1S43, young Blaine, though only 
in the beginning of his fourteenth year, was thought to be ready for college. 
It proved to be so, and he was admitted to the freshman class of Washington, 
in the fall of the year referred to. 

This event constituted the border-line of the first period of Blaine's 
development. There is no crisis more distinct in the life of a young man 
than that which marks his entrance into college. From that day the boyhood 
home begins to fall back into the shadows. From that day the blessed face 
of the mother is seen less distinctly, though not less lovingly, in the distance. 
From that day the world begins to open with vision and prospect. The 
horizon falls back ; the earth broadens, and the sky is so lifted as to reveal 
the planets and stars. It is the first day of a new life, which the boy, going 
forth on his pilgrimage, may know once, but never know again. 

Before speaking of Blaine's career at college, we may note with particu- 
larity one or two things about the preliminary period of his life. It is said 
that in the village school at West Brownsville (such is the tradition of the 
neighbors) he showed remarkable aptitude for learning, a strong memory and 
a great liking for biography and such history as he was able to grasp. These 
symptoms were in him, as they are in all, the earnest of a strong and com- 
prehensive development. It is said also that his tastes and habits in school were 
dashed with many touches of practicality and ready adaptation to conditions. 
Another peculiarity of his mind was his aptitude for mathematical study, in 
which he is said to have surpassed. This combination of talents and disposi- 
tions was peculiarly promising and potential of much that has come to pass in 
the future development of our subject. It was also noted that Blaine in his 
boyhood had an unusual readiness a quickness of perception which fore- 
tokened his remarkable power in spontaneous debate. 

Had it been foreseen at West Brownsville what the boy Blaine would come 
to, no doubt all gossips and myth-makers would have been busy with the 
anomaly. But the gossips and myth-makers did not know the lad or his future, 
and thus lost their opportunity. Had they possessed the prescience, some of 
them might have become immortal by swinging traditionally to the skirts of 
one of the foremost American statesman of the nineteenth century. As it is, 
there is silence, or semi-silence, about the boy of West Brownsville. One 
old friend of the family, however, tells this story : At the close of a school 
term, when Blaine was a mere lad of nine or ten years, he, among others, was 
called upon for a declamation, or, as it was called, to "speak a piece." He 
pleaded lack of preparation ; but the teacher replied that he must stand up and 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



45 



repeat something, no matter what. Arising from his seat, the boy declaimed, with 
wonderful gestures and proper emphasis, the Apostles' Creed, which he remembered 
from hearing it repeated a few times by a schoolmate. It answered the emergency. 
In the fall of 1S43 James G. Blaine, in his fourteenth year, is a freshman 
at Washington College. The institution was situated at Washington, the 
county seat of his native county, about thirty miles from Pittsburgh. The 
population at that time was not more than 2000. The place, however, was the 
seat of the institution referred to above. Jefferson College was located at Can- 
onsburg, about ten miles away, in the same county. These two were subse- 
quently, in 1865, united to form the Washington and Jefferson College. It is 
evident that the spirit of education has always prevailed about the place and 




WASHINGTON AND JEFFERSON COLLEGE. 

through the county. As early as 1791 the Academy of Canonsburg was opened, 
and this became, nine years afterwards, Jefferson College. Washington Col- 
lege had existed previously to 1S06, and as far back as 1787 was known under 
the name of Washington Academy. In 1S06 the institution was chartered as a 
college, and had been conducted as such for thirty-seven years when Blaine 
became a student there. It was under the patronage and direction of the Pres- 
byterian Church another circumstance which may have contributed to the choice 
of this place for the formal education of Blaine. The father was not likely to 
forego or neglect the opportunity to impress upon his son, in the formative 
period of his career, that austere but thorough-going religion which he him- 
self had willingly inherited from his ancestors. 



46 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

The college life of a young man is likely to leave a tradition, but hardly 
a history. His name appears in the catalogue from year to year, and the 
records of the college show his class standing and rank at graduation. But, 
beyond this, there is not much that is trustworthy. The rest is a matter of 
opinion rather than of fact. The vision of students is magnified and colored 
with all manner of optical illusions. Very few of our sedate and mature 
citizens, in public or in private life, are able to recite without all of the prejudice, 
animation and passion of boyhood, the events of their college days. No sooner 
do they begin, than they are in the swim again. The landscape is suddenly 
transformed ; the old halo comes back and rests on the campus. The sunshine of 
vanished years flashes among the trees, and the aurora borealis flames up by night. 

Out of such conditions there may spring a whole cycle of poetry, love, art, 
tradition, mythology but hardly any history ! One man, a certain Mr. Gow, 
editor of a Pennsylvania newspaper, has left his opinion of Blaine on record. 
They two were classmates, and Mr. Gow has this to say about the school days 
of his distinguished fellow: " Blaine was graduated in the class of 1847, when 
he was only seventeen years old. I was graduated in the same class. We 
were thrown a great deal together, not only in school but in society. He was a 
great favorite in the best social circles in the town. He was not noted as a 
leader in his class. He could learn his lessons too easily. He had the most 
remarkable memory of any boy in school, and could commit and retain his 
lessons without difficulty. He never demonstrated in his youth, except by his 
wonderful memory, any of the great powers as a debater and thinker that he 
has since given evidence of." 

One of the peculiarities about the foregoing comments is the illustration 
which they afford of a common trait in human character. Students, grown to 
manhood and reputation, are rarely able to recognize the great differences which 
appear among them by a development subsequent to their college days. One 
is not able to perceive that another has so far outgrown himself. It may be 
noted that where classmates have been subsequently associated with classmates 
as their subordinates in official station or as their secretaries, the latter have 
rarely been able to perceive that those who were formerly their familiars and 
equals have now become of such vastly greater stature than themselves. 

This trait is strikingly manifested in the recently published Memoirs of 
Bourienne, private secretary to Napoleon from the Italian campaign down to 
Elba. It would seem that Bourienne has not been able in any place to perceive 
that his former classmate had become not only the first man in France, but the 
leading figure of European history, and one of the two or three greatest warriors 
of the world. We may accept Mr. Gow's testimony as to the promise of young 
Blaine at college. But we must also remember what, if we were writing a new 
work on logic, we should designate as the " Fallacy of the Classmate." 

It is in evidence that Blaine distinguished himself, at least in a measure, 
as a student at Washington College. His superiority ran in two or three 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 47 

directions. He had a fondness for historical and literary studies. In these he 
reached unusual attainments while still a youth. The tradition goes that even 
in boyhood he was an expert amid the glories of Plutarch's Lives. He reveled 
in the highly-colored and half-authentic stories which the Greek biographer has 
transmitted to the youth of all civilized nations. After all it does not so much 
matter, in such cases, how much is truth and how much fiction. Plutarch is 
Plutarch anyhow, and the invented example is almost as good as the other. 
Let us be thankful for Plutarch! How dark and dismal would be the intel- 
lectual world of radiant boyhood if it were not for Plutarch! He is the prose 
Shakespeare of all nations the father of the heroic in literature, whose pictured 
pages have been transferred to the warm leaves of boyish intelligence among a 
score of the greatest races of men. Let it be as it has been. Blaine caught, 
we do not doubt, from the Plutarch gallery, much of the high-colored and 
heroic strain. It were not impossible to discover the remains of the early glow 
and fiction, in the life and thought of the statesman, as far on as the Senate 
Chamber and the foreign office under two administrations. 

We have already spoken of Blaine's aptitude in mathematical study. This 
may be wondered at and admired ; for the mathematical faculty does not usually 
co-exist, even in great minds, with the excursive and imaginative faculty which 
Blaine possessed in so high a measure of activity. Without doubt, the possession 
of mathematical ability is of high value to a public man, particularly if he be 
destined to deal with economic questions. The exact spirit of the age requires 
truth in the political economist, and will have proof as well as assertion. The 
economist must be a statistician, and to be such demands a large measure, not 
indeed of mathematical attainment, but of mathematical aptitude and talent. 
This is as much of a requisite in the political economist of our times as mathe- 
matical formulae are requisite in bridge-building and surveying. We do not any 
longer depend upon theorizing and unwarranted generalizations in the matter of 
economics, but on the exact results of statistics and the doctrine of averages. In 
Blaine the aptitude for numbers entered into easy and subordinate combination 
with the higher faculties of ideality and the rapid excursions of generalization. 

In another particular, Blaine is said to have been eminent as a college 
student. This was in forensics. He was a born debater. His passion in this 
direction was not exactly a litigious instinct, but a disposition for abstract debate. 
It was not a war of facts, but a war of questions and policies in which he 
delighted from a boy. The college of Blaine's day had, as one of its strongest 
adjuncts, the open debating society. College fraternities had not as yet thrust 
themselves into the arena as the chief facts for which young men exist. The 
Greek-letter societies came on in the West in the fourth and fifth decades ; some 
of them later. But the old legitimate debating society was a great fact in the 
primitive and middle age college of the West. 

It is not clear that the loss of this open arena in our institutions of 
learning has been at all compensated by the inrush of the Greek fraternity. 



48 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



The latter is, no doubt, as splendid as it is unknowable. But the old open society- 
was both splendid and knowable. It was free. The college neophyte walked 
into it with the air of one about to conquer. He gave his essay, his oration, his 
declamation, in particular his debate, as one might do who was convinced of 
the necessity of himself to the equilibrium of nature. His vieAV on this 
question, after the delivery of his part, was frequently modified and toned down 
by the distinct opinions of his fellows ! 

But it was a great arena. The tradition exists at Washington College 
that young Blaine was the first man of his age in the matter of forensics. He 
was a natural speaker, took delight in preparation and in delivery, sought 
opportunity to speak much, spoke well and gained applause, and, what is 
unusual in such cases, is said to have debated the question. Generally, in 

such societies, it is not the question, 
but something else, that is debated ! 
Young Alexander Hamilton, in a place 
called " the Fields," near Columbia Col- 
lege, attended a patriot meeting in 1774. 
There were several speeches. The strip- 
ling said to one of his companions, 
" The speakers have fire and enthu- 
siasm, but they don't debate the ques- 
tion.' 1 '' As a rule, the man who debates 
the question is a coming man. 

Beyond what is here sketched, little 
or nothing is known of Blaine's career 
at college. Two additional facts may 
be cited and these are, first, Blaine's 
remarkable social qualities. These were 
in the bloom at the epoch of his college 
life. None were his superiors in the 
society of the coiinty town where he 
flourished for four years. His presence was already distinguished. He was 
a handsome young man, of full height, manners the most genial, a fascinating 
address, readiness of utterance, wit not a little, repartee by nature, companionable 
traits, and, indeed, every quality and qualification likely to attract to himself 
the admiring gaze and affection of both young and old. 

The second fact is that he was, notwithstanding the testimony of his class- 
mate Gow, first in his class. At any rate, he is said to have been graduated 
with the first rank. This was in the summer of 1847. Abroad, things 
were preparing themselves at that date for the great events of the following 
year. The combustibles of revolution are already smoking in Berlin and 
Vienna. The throne of the Citizen King is beginning to rock. General Scott 
is on the way from Perote to the City of the Montezumas. It was a fair day 




ALEXANDER HAMILTON. 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 49 

in which a young man about to devote his genius to statesmanship snould be 
graduated " with the first place in his class." 

Before concluding this initial chapter of the biography of Blaine, we 
should note a circumstance most important to the life of every one ; namely, the 
public opinion and drift of events round about the forming character. It was 
during the college days of Blaine that the whole Mexican question, involving 
excitement, diplomacy and war, rose to the surface, whirled for a year or two 
along the horizon, and began to subside with the invasion and conquest of the 
enemy's country. When Blaine entered college, the question of the annexation 
of Texas was fully on. The situation had been already contrived. The 
political opinion of the country was strongly divided on that issue. The Whig 
part} r , having in its breast the potency of the anti-slavery sentiment, which was 
soon to express itself in universal disruption, opposed the annexation scheme, 
not so much, indeed, because of the injustice which was to be done ultimately to 
a sister Republic, as because the area of human slavery was to be enlarged by 
the addition of an empire for that purpose. 

The propagandists of the peculiar institution, on the other hand, favored 
an annexation for the counter reason that thereby their social and domestic 
svstem might be extended to the Rio Grande and finally to the Pacific. Should 
Texas be acquired, territory enough would be thus secured to add five States 
to the Union. All of these would be slave States. Each would have two 
Senators of the United States in the Capitol. These would be ten Senators in 
all. The equipoise would thus be kept against the overgrowth of the North. 
The South would continue to reign as she had reigned for many years. Shall 
we annex or shall we not annex ? Shall we fight and conquer Mexico, or shall 
we refrain from fighting and conquest? 

Such were the dominant questions of the day, so far as public policies were 
concerned ; and these were the questions which, without doubt, were hotly debated 
in the literary society of Washington College. There young Blaine stood up 
and made his maiden speeches on the very issues which were discussed with so 
much heat in Congress, and Cabinet, and country hall, even to the cabins of Iowa, 
Missouri and Arkansas. Now, the day of boy debate is ended. The young 
man is graduated with fair auspices around him, and high ambition in his heart. 

What will he do hereafter ? 

4 



CHAPTER II. 




INITIAL PASSAGES. 

T may be taken as true that an aspiring young man, 
who has been graduated from a reputable college, may, 
with that eveut, begin to have a history. Hitherto the 
^ stellar evolution of character has gone on slowly 
out of the fire-mist of boyhood. Now the same process 
must proceed more rapidly until personality and 
individuality are attained. 

The first vision of a personal career with James 
G. Blaine seems to have been that of a teacher. The 
tendency to form such a decision on the part of young men in 
college is strong. There the professors are teachers ; and not a 
few young men, while in contact with their professors, falla- 
ciously suppose them to be great. The seriousness of this 
mistake is at length discovered, but in many cases the young 
men have already chosen for themselves the like pursuit with 
their instructors. It cannot be known whether young Blaine, 
just graduated from Washington College, purposed to teach 
during his career, or only for a season. It is probable that the 
phantom of something after that already danced before his 
imagination as he went out with his parchment and turned 
his face to Kentucky. 
That commonwealth was chosen as his first scene of operations. The 
motives of his going thither are not known, but the autumn of 1847 found 
him at Blue Lick Springs, Ky. At that place there was a military academy, 
and James G. Blaine, then only in his eighteenth year, was chosen as oue of 
the tutors. It was an early beginning. The school in which he found a 
situation was called the Western Military Institute. It was one of many such 
institutions which sprang up about this time in different parts of the New 
West. The plan of educating the sexes separately was then universal. Only 
boys were educated at the Blue Lick Springs Academy, and of such, young 
Professor Blaine took charge, while still three years within his majority 

The Western Military Institute was efficiently managed and well patronized. 
The principal was Colonel Thornton F. Johnson, a man of capacity and character. 
At that time, there were about four hundred and fifty pupils in attendance. 
Such schools were popular, especially in the South. In that section of the Union 
the military spirit has always prevailed to a greater degree than in the North. 
At the time of the outbreak of the Civil War, thirteen years after the period of 

(50) 




LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 51 

which we speak, the South was dotted with military institutes, at which 
the greater number of the sons of the upper classes spent some time in 
studying and training. General Sherman was principal of such a school when 
the drama of secession was begun. 

The educational system of the time divided itself everywhere into schools 
for boys aud schools for girls. Frequent^ the institutes for the two sexes were 
not far apart. The Kentucky plan had generally this character. In some cases 
the management of the schools for young men and those for young women 
was common. In the case of the academy at Blue Lick Springs there was an 
arrangement of this kind. The wife of Colonel Johnson had charge of a 

seminary for young ladies at Millersburg, twenty miles away. That institution 
also was prosperous, and not a few girls and yotrng ladies from beyond the 
borders of Kentucky were gathered there for education. Among those who came 
thus from a distance was Miss Harriet Stanwood, of Augusta, Me. She went 
to Millersburg to live with her sister there, and presently became a teacher in 
the seminary. It was thus that the foundation was laid for the usual romance 
between the young professor at Blue Lick and the preceptress at Millersburg. 

Tradition is rife with stories of Blaine's career as a teacher in the academy. 
He is said to have been a rather tall and, at that time, a slender man, active, 
vivacious, quick in thought and decision, enthusiastic even beyond the limits 
of judgment. These qualities were well calculated to make him friends and to 
gain for him the admiration of his pupils. The Southern boys have always 
been hot-blooded, quick to take fire, ready alike for exploit and battle. He who 
has seen them in the institutions of the North will have noticed the striking 
difference in the temperament of the Northern and Southern youth. 

There was much that was common in the Blaine character with the hot- 
blooded temper of his students. The concord between the parties was of a kind 
to beget strong attachment, but dangerous in the breaking. It is said that 
Blaine, for his part, managed his classes with success, and that he was adroit 
in discipline, being quick to find out the foibles of the boys and to penetrate 
their disguises. He is said to have had a strong sense of right and wrong, and 
to have administered discipline with a more even hand than might have been 
expected. With his pupils he was familiar. His popularity was great. He 
knew them by name and was wont to address them by their given names, and 
to bear them along in their studies and recitations with a warmth and affection 
which might well go far to win their partiality, while it conduced to their mental 
improvement. In fact, if Blaine's disposition had been satisfied with such a life, 
it can hardly be doubted that he would have risen to reputation in the 
professorial ranks. 

It is said, however, that already he began to look beyond the rather 
narrow limitations of such a life and to hunger for the activities of the 
competitive professions. It is probable that while still at Blue Lick Springs he 
began the study of the rudiments of law. His first two years (184S-50) went 



52 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAIN 



E. 



by in this manner, and the young professor approached his majority. 
He began to grow more manly and to exhibit greater strength of intellect and 
more pronounced qualities of character. His relations with the old homestead 
were kept up with correspondence and occasional visits. The father had now 
become decrepit, though not from old age. After a residence of thirty-two 
years at West Brownsville, Ephraim L- Blaine died, on the twenty-eighth of 
June, 1850. Professor Blaine went home from the academy on that occasion 
and was present at the funeral. The stroke seems to have aroused him, and, 
in a sense, to have transformed him. The neighbors remarked his change of 






- d& 








J 



THIS BLAIN'ii BURIAL 1'LOT IN AUGUSTA, MAINE. 

manner and bearing. Though he was not quite of age, he, nevertheless, had 
become a man. His beard had grown somewhat, and his form was of full 
stature and proportion. On the occasion of his father's death, the religious 
sympathies of the mother prevailed, and the burial was had in the old Catholic 
churchyard, the service being in the manner of the Mother Church. 

After a brief sojourn at his old home, thus desolated, Blaine returned in 
the fall of 1850, and resumed his duties in the academy. Already, however, 
he had begun that acquaintance which was to end in his partnership for life. 
The fact that Colonel Thornton and his wife were principal and preceptress 
respectively of the schools at Blue Lick Springs and Millersburg made the 
communication of the teachers of the two institutions easy and frequent. 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



53 



It was iu this way that Mr. Blaine obtained the first introduction to Miss 
Harriet Stanwood, his future wife. The acquaintance grew at once into friend- 
ship, and then into courtship and marriage. This took place just after Blaine 
reached his majority, and in the city of Pittsburgh, in March of 1851, where 
the couple stopped for their wedding which was private on their way to the 
East. 

The young wife was from an old and well-known New England family. 
The Stanwoods had their residence in Augusta, and it was the wish of 
the bride to carry her young husband back to that city for a residence. It 
appears that Blaine himself had not intended to remain permanently as far 




THli STANWOOD RKSIDENCK AT AUGUSTA. 



west as Kentucky ; but for the time being the question of a permanent 
residence was undecided. Young Mrs. Blaine gave up her place as teacher 
in the Millersburg Academy and visited, for a season, with her parents at 
home. 

Blaine continued his work at the academy and held a place of growing 
influence in the institution until early in 1852, when he made up his mind to 
seek a larger field of prospect and ambition. He was not yet prepared, 
however, to swing loose entirely from the teaching profession. Though he had 
set his heart on the law, his financial condition and other motives prevailed to 
keep him at the desk for a time. Nevertheless, he made up his mind to leave 



54 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

Kentucky, and in 1852, at the beginning of summer, he resigned his instructor- 
ship and went to Philadelphia. Here, at least, he would find a wider arena. 
At first he associated himself with the law office of Theodore Cuyler and began 
the acquisition of legal lore in such spare hours as he could snatch from other 
work. It was at this time that, still in search for a place, he noticed an 
advertisement which had been inserted by the Pennsylvania Institution for the 
Instruction of the Blind. This he answered in person, and called at the office 
of Dr. William Chapin, the principal of the institution, and though there were 
about forty applicants who had come to seek the place, Blaine carried off the 
palm. 

Dr. Chapin has borne witness that the applicant's " manner was so 
winning, and he possessed so many manifestly valuable qualities that I closed 
an engagement with him at once. He was married, and his wife and little 
son, Stanwood, came there with him. His qualities, which impressed me most 
deeply, were his culture, the thoroughness of his education and his unfailing 
self-possession. He was also a man of very decided will, and was very much 
disposed to argument. He was very young then only twenty-two and was 
rather impulsive, leaping to a conclusion very quickly. But he was always 
ready to defend his conclusions, however suddenly he seemed to have reached 
them. We had many a familiar discussion, and his arguments always astonished 
me by the knowledge they displayed of facts in history and politics. His 
memory was remarkable, and seemed to retain details which ordinary men 
would forget." 

The institution to which Blaine was chosen was for the instruction of blind 
children and youth. The pupils were divided, on the line of sex, into two 
departments. Blaine was elected principal of the boys' department and taught 
the youth in literature and science. The reader will not have failed to note 
the variety and extent of the young professor's accomplishments. It was an 
all-around development. He seemed to be able to teach any of the branches 
which he himself had pursued at college. Another note to be made is that of 
the early beginning or, as we should say, the early send-off of James G. Blaine. 
He already had a mature man's work when he reached his majority. It is clear 
that he was precocious as well as active, and ambitious to a degree. "His. work 
in the Pennsylvania Institution for the Blind extended over two years. This 
was no great period of time, but it was sufficient for Blaine to leave a marked 
impression on the school and an enviable tradition with the management. His 
success here, if we mistake not, was much more full and satisfactory than at 
the Blue Lick Springs Academy. Dr. Chapin, who continued to be president 
of the institution for thirty years after the time here referred to, bore unequivocal 
testimony to the popularity of Blaine and the loss to the school on his retire- 
ment from it. He has left on record the statement that the personal force and 
influence which the young professor exerted survived in and around the school 
for an average lifetime. 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 55 

Since the rise of Blaine to national fame, the memory of him has been 
admiringly evoked and preserved at the school where he taught. The building 
stands at Twentieth and Race streets, and the institution is conducted, to the 
present day, in much the old-time manner. The authorities have gone back to 
the years of Blaine (1852-54) and have found many evidences of his successful 
activity in the school. Among the rest, they have evoked from the rubbish of 
old archives a most interesting manuscript volume in Blaine's own hand, pro- 
duced by him during his incumbency as principal. We may note, in the work, 
the activity of his mind that restlessness for action and accomplishment which 
mnst needs express itself in this form or the other. 

It seems that the young principal determined to produce a sort of record 
of the institution, which should possess a permanent value. Perhaps it is not 
the first time that a man, so seeking, has made a record of himself, rather than 
of the thing he was writing about. Blaine's manuscript volume is still extant 
and is not likely to be lost. The title page, elegantly done in the author's 
handwriting, is as follows : 

JOURNAL 

OF THE 

Pennsylvania Institution 

for THE 

INSTRUCTION OF THE BLIND, 

from its foundation to 

Compiled From Official Records, 

by 

JAMES G. BLAINE. 

The reader will note that the author of the manuscript leaves a space after 
the word " to," in order to complete the date when he should retire from the 
institution or cease to keep the record. On the next page is the following 
entry : 

" On this and the four following pages will be found some notes in regard to 
the origin of the Pennsylvania Institution for the Instruction of the Blind, furnished 
b}^ I. Francis Fisher." To this a Philadelphia newspaper adds : " From this page, 
the 188th, in which is the first entry made by Mr. Blaine, every line is a model of 
neatness and accuracy. On every page is a wide margin. At the top of the margin 
is the year in ornamental figures. Below it is a brief statement of what the text 
contains opposite that portion of the marginal entry. Every year's record closes 
with an elaborate table, giving the attendance of members of the board. The 
last pages of the book are filled with alphabetical lists of officers of the institution 
and statistical tables, compiled by the same patient and untiring hand. One 



5o LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

of the lists is that of the 'principal teachers.' List No. 13 is followed by the 

signature 'James G. Blaine, from August 5, 1852 to ' and then in another 

hand the record is completed, from the date November 23, 1854." 

This record kept by young Professor Blaine has beeu much praised by the 
authorities of the institution. It shows a masterly and industrious mind. It 
reveals a quality, which is unfortunately too rare among the sons of men ; 
namely, the determination to do as well as possible, whatever is to be done, 
even though the work in question is only transitional as, indeed, was the case 
in this instance. Blaine was now clearly looking to the law and to a public 
life ; but, nevertheless, he did the recording in a manner conspicuously superior 
to that of any of his predecessors or successors in the recorder's office. Dr. Chapin, 
in the afterpart of his life, was wont to refer with pride to the Blaine manuscript, 
declaring that it showed an accurate mastery of facts and orderly presentation 
of details. " We still use it," the doctor was wont to say, " for reference," and 
Mr. Frank Battles, the assistant principal, is bringing the record down to the 
present time. 

Some of Blaine's pupils at the institution for the blind were still surviving 
at the close of our ninth decade. One of these, Michael M. Williams, has left 
the following testimony in regard to his former instructor: " Everybody," says 
he, " loved Mr. Blaine and his wife. Both were always ready to do anything 
for our amusement in leisure hours, and we had a great deal of fun, into which 
they entered heartily. I think that Mrs. Blaine read nearly all of Dickens' 
works aloud to us; and Mr. Blaine used to make us all roar with laughter by 
reading out of a book entitled ' Charcoal Sketches.' In the evening he used 
to read aloud to both the boys and girls. Then we would wind up with a 
spelling bee. Sometimes Mr. Blaine would give out the words and sometimes 
one of the big boys would do it, while Mr. Blaine stood up among the boys. 
Then we would have great fun trying to spell the teacher down.' 1 '' 

We are still further indebted to Mr. Williams, or " Michael," as he is 
commonly called, for quite an account of the life and manner of Professor 
Blaine. Michael was admitted to the school in 1853, when Blaine bad been 
there about a year. Williams was then a lad of eighteen, blind, a total 
stranger in the city and without friends. He was taken to the school by 
a railway employe. On arriving at the building he was met by Mr. Blaine 
in person, who opened the door and was so kind and considerate that he 
immediately won his way to Michael's heart, and in turn gave him his 
confidence. 

A part of Mr. Blaine's duty as principal teacher was to ring the large 
bell to assemble and dismiss the school. This duty was onerous, and one day 
he entered into a compact with Michael that in consideration of Michael's 
ringing the bell he would give him permission to go out of the grounds when 
he pleased. This was faithfully adhered to by both until Mr. Blaine left, and 
as a matter of fact Michael rings the bell to this day ! 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



o/ 



Mr. Blaine entered upon his duties September,' 1852, and res.gned 
November, 1854. He was head-master and Mrs. Blaine was his assistant. 
The) 7 had at that time one child, Stanwood. When Mrs. Blaine read to the 
pupils she would frequently put the little boy in Michael's lap, where he 
would curl up and go to sleep. 

Both Mr. and Mrs. Blaine were very much liked by the pupils. They 
read general literature aloud to them. Mr. Blaine was particularly fond of 
the humorous, his favorite books being "Charcoal Sketches" and "Pickwick 
Papers." He would laugh aloud, almost immoderately, to the great diversion 
of the pupils. He was very kind to the pupils and mingled freely with them 
out of school, when he would 
get them to play and sing for 
him, as he was passionately 
fond of music. He was a strict 
disciplinarian, however, and was 
indefatigable in seeing his rules 
enforced. 

Mr. Blaine was fond of 
argument and would encour- 
age the boys to combat state- 
ments he would make for that 
purpose. He always talked at 
the top of his voice, even dis- 
turbing classes in adjacent 
rooms. This he realized, and 
would apologize, saying he was 
so much in earnest. 

Because he was not a pro- 
fessing Christian he refused to 
ask a blessing before meals, 
but did not object to conduct- 
ing prayer service, when using 
some- printed form. michael m. wiixiams. 

Prayers were then held at 6.30 a. m., and the rule was that those who 
were more than five minutes after the bell could not enter the room, and the 
delinquents suffered some punishment for their tardiness. Mr. Blaine himself 
was not fond of early rising, and he was frequently seen running downstairs, 
two steps at a time, coat and vest in one hand and collar in the other. 

His greatest interest was in mathematics, his classes in geometr)' and 
algebra receiving the most attention. Two incidents of this geometry class 
survive. 

In a public examination of the class Michael was called upon to state a 
simple proposition. This he failed to do properly. Mr. Blaine went around 




58 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

* 

the class and returning to Michael again, asked him, with the same result. 
At the close of the examination Mr. Blaine met Michael and said, " Michael, 
you have made an ass of yourself. Mrs. Blaine's history class comes 
to-morrow and if you don't answer creditably I'll score you." Mrs. Blaine 
hearing this, took Michael that afternoon, and to save him from punishment, 
reviewed the ground they had been over, with the result of a satisfactory 
examination, much to the gratification of all concerned. 

The second one is as follows : Wishing to make a tangible demonstration 
of a proposition, in his impetuous way he took out his knife and commenced 
cutting the figure into a desk. One of the pupils remonstrated saying they 
were told not to destroy institution property. He replied, ' The car of 
knowledge must ride over all obstacles." Of this same pupil he said, in con- 
versation with Mr. George W. Childs, nearly forty years afterwards (1891), 
"If David Wood had not been afflicted he would have been one of the greatest 
mathematicians of the age. But what the world has lost in that direction it 
has gained in music." (Mr. Wood, although entirely blind, is the leading 
organist in Philadelphia.) 

Mr. Blaine retained his interest in the school long after he left it, and 
for years would visit there, asking about all his old pupils, remembering their 
names and characteristics. When the press of public affairs became so great 
that this was impracticable, he even then showed where his interest lay, when 
as Secretary of State under Garfield, he gave to an officer of the school, who 
was going abroad to examine into the European methods of instructing the 
blind, a letter to the consular and diplomatic officers of the United States 
abroad, commending the bearer to their attention. 

At one time the boys, while attempting to play a prank upon a half- 
witted boy, succeeded in frightening Mrs. Blaine, who called loudly for Mr. 
Blaine. He came, discovered the culprits, and promised to punish them. 
They apologized to Mrs. Blaine, who interceded, and saved them from 
punishment.* 

We have the pleasure in this connection of inserting what must prove of 
interest not a little to the reader; namely, a correct cut of the Pennsylvania 
Institution for the Blind, where Mr. Blaine taught, and more particularly, a 
fac-simile of his letter of resignation from the institution. This we have obtained 
from the files for the purpose of reproduction. The letter is not less admirable 
for the steady and elegant hand in which it is written, than for the essential 
propriety of the terms in which it is couched. 

The Pennsylvania Institution for the Blind was founded in 1834. The 
fiftieth anniversary of the school was celebrated on March 5, 18S4. It was the 
secon d insti tution of the kind to be established in the United States. The 

* For the foregoing interesting account of Blaine's life in the Philadelphia Institution for the Instruction 
of the Blind, and in particular for that part which relates to the story of Michael Williams and Blaine's friendship 
for him, we are indebted to Mr. Frank Battles, afterwards an instructor in the Institution and Principal of it for 
many years. 




PK5MUVLVAWI* UiKTrTl'TION FOR THE INSTRUCTION OF THE HI-IM). 




. ^^ <X ^^- 



/e?*4~ 






a?*zt*.4?iu- s?f z5ts> ^e^. 



<7< <^, 



tr^e^ 



^ ^ 



<-e-2> 







<e?-*Se*^- 



60 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

Boston Institute was founded in 1S33. It was, at the beginning, a private 
enterprise, and the school was conducted for a while in a rented house. The 
State at length took up the cause and made for the support of the school 
an annual contribution. Endowments have been given by private friends ; so 
that in this way or in that the Pennsylvania Institution has lived and flourished 
to the present time. 

Though it appears that Blaine devoted himself assiduously to the duties of 
his instructorship he, nevertheless, found outside opportunity for his now cherished 
project of becoming a lawyer. He continued to dip into the law books during his 
whole stay of two years in Philadelphia, and thus prepared himself for admission 
to the bar. He was not, however, at this time, admitted, nor did he make appli- 
cation for such privilege. But he got ready for the larger and freer work of the 
open arena. With the close of the school year (1853-54) he presented his resig- 
nation and retired from the institution, where he had done such efficient service. 

With respect to Blaine's preparation as a lawyer, we have some interesting 
testimony furnished by Dr. George Edward Reed, president of Dickinson 
College. In a letter to the author, he says : " I have made inquiry as to the 
alleged fact that Mr. Blaine studied law in Carlisle. Mr. John Hays, leading 
attorney here, gives the following statement : ' James G. Blaine never read law 
in Carlisle and never visited the town more than half a dozen times in his 
life, chiefly as the guest of the late Colonel James W. Bosler, who spent 
largely his time and money to secure Blaine's nomination for the presidency 
at Cincinnati. He is said to have read law during his leisure hours under 
Theodore Cuyler, Esq., of Philadelphia, while teaching there in the Pennsyl- 
vania Institution for the Instruction of the Blind. It was in Philadelphia that 
he made a study of the law.' " 

Now it was that the question of location came up for final decision. A man 
may not live in many places, but rather in one. The strong desire of Mrs. 
Blaine to return to her old home and to make their residence there prevailed, 
and with the close of his services in Philadelphia, James G. Blaine, then but 
twenty-four years of age, set his face to the East, to become the most distinguished 
citizen of his adopted State. 

It only remains, before following the young family back to Augusta, to note 
another quality of Blaine's activities to which we have not thus far had occasion 
to refer. This was his disposition to employ the pen. Notwithstanding the 
strong bias of his mind towards public speaking, towards argumentation and all 
forensic production, he nevertheless, had an innate passion for the pen. From 
his boyhood he wrote well and easily. It was his habit. He caught the usual 
desire for print, and while in Philadelphia began that fascinating but dangerous 
work of writing for the papers. He was an early beginner in the contributors' 
column and presently rose to the dignity of the editorial. It would be interesting 
indeed if we might recover from the obscurity of the unknown his first 
publication. 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 61 

It would appear that, before resigning his place in the Philadelphia Insti- 
tution for the Instruction of the Blind, Blaine had entered into correspondence 
with friends at Augusta, relative to a removal to that city and to the establish- 
ment of an editorial connection. The Stanwood relatives, at that place, interested 
themselves in the plan. Mrs. Blaine has had the reputation of political talents 
and abilities for bringing things to pass. At any rate, she succeeded in her 
purpose, and the removal to Maine was decided. It is evident, from an expression 
in Blaine's resignation from his school, that he had already made arrangements 
for an editorial partnership in Augusta. It cannot be doubted that the oppor- 
tunity offered by a newspaper for communicating directly with the people, for 
influencing them and for gaining popularity, was most agreeable to the brilliant 
young man, who had now spent nearly seven years in teaching. It is in 
evidence that he welcomed the chance for a journalistic connection with enthu- 
siasm and flung himself into the swim, escaping gladly from the somewhat 
narrow but interesting life of a professorship. 

Before following Blaine to Augusta, we may note, with some interest, the 
probable results of such a change in location. The public life of the United 
States is, in its personnel, largely influenced by State boundaries. It is also 
determined somewhat by the position of men with respect to the centre and 
circumference of the United States. Again it is determined, as we have seen 
strongly illustrated in recent years, by the predominance and distribution of 
political sentiment in certain of our commonwealths. 

It cannot be doubted that a position geographically central is advantageous 
to a young man entering public life. It is advantageous to him through his 
whole career. The Mississippi Valley is, in this regard, a favorite field for 
political activity. The next consideration, determinative of a choice for a 
young statesman, is that of the populousness of the States respectively. The 
great State is a much more favorable situation than the small State. This is 
said alike of territorial area and of population. There can be no doubt that 
such States as Rhode Island, Delaware and even New Jersey are seriously 
disparaged as scenes of political ambition. On the other hand, New York, 
Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois and Kansas are natural battle-grounds for great 
ambitions. The circumference of the Union is not favorable for the emplace- 
ment of American statesmanship. The man of the border is put at a 
disadvantage. It is difficult for him to gather the geographical relations and 
statistical forces of politics into his hands. He seems to be against the 
horizon. He does not loom up as a central figure at least not easily. When 
California shall become greatly potential in our system, it must be by means 
of a great population, great territorial extent and great wealth all these as 
against the disadvantage of her remote situation. 

But we must also consider the distribution and peculiar accumulations of 
political sentiment in the different States. A State strongly devoted politically 
to the one or the other of the great parties, having a tremendous majority for 



62 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

the one or the other, has some advantages in the contest, but it also has 
great disadvantages. It has an advantage in this, that after a man has once 
clearly come to the ascendant, he has behind him a certain and unbreakable 
political phalanx upon which he may depend almost recklessly for support 
and power. The leader in an uncertain State, where the political margin is 
narrow, can have no such confidence. He can have no such audacity. The 
leader in a close State is cautious, prudent, reserved. The leader in a State 
where the majority is great is bold, aggressive, audacious, radical. 

The sum of advantages, however, is distinctly in favor of the doubtful 
State. No fact in our political evolution has proved to be more potent in 
these high days than the pivotal State. It is, in instances not a few, a 
political fortune to be born in a doubtful State. To be doubtful introduces an 
element into the political battle which makes the doubtful point of greatest 
value to the contestants. In the doubtful States even mediocrity may have 
fame. In the ninth decade we saw the political importance of Ohio and 
Indiana reversed in the general contest, by the fact that the latter was a 
doubtful and the former a certain State. For a quarter of a century Ohio had 
been laying her cloak over the Hoosier State and by her momentum and 
reputation carrying off the prizes and spoils of the battlefield. But when 
Indiana became pivotal, she suddenly rose to the place of central interest. 
The great majorities of the dominant party in Ohio, Illinois and Michigan 
were overlooked in the political management, in order that the smallest of the 
Central Western States might be courted and sought for at the tourney. 

All of these considerations have had weight in determining the destinies 
of our public men. Each has had his locus. From some particular district 
in some particular State he has had to rise or to fail in the effort at rising. 
On the whole, James G. Blaine was not well emplaced. True, he became 
easily a leader in a State most strongly jievoted to his political principles and 
enthusiastically devoted to himself. Of a certainty we do not say that he had 
no rivalries against him. That were very far from true. During his whole 
career, aspirants arose to contest with him the palm of primacy. None was 
able, at any time, to take away his laurel ; but many would fain have done it. 

In the next place, we note that Maine, in addition to her remote position 
on the borders of the Republic, is a small State and, therefore, lacking in 
political momentum. Such a fact ought not to count in great contests, but it 
does count in American politics as things go. It is easy to see that, in a 
contest otherwise equal between a statesman of Maine and a statesman of New 
York or Ohio, the advantage would be largely in favor of the latter. Blaine 
had the advantage of a strong and compact political majority in his common- 
wealth* but otherwise he was obliged to advance into the arena as if from a 
distance. If Garfield reached the presidency and Blaine did not, we must' charge 
up the result, in part at least, to the geopraphical and political conditions which 
we have here portrayed. If Harrison gained the White House and Blaine did 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 63 

not, we must remember that the former had the great advantage of a pivotal 
and doubtful State in his interest, while the latter must make battle from the 
northeastern corner, far removed, and with a State behind him, of which the 
politician sayeth, "Oh, Maine will take care of herself; no need of worrying 
about Maine." 

x\t the middle of the sixth decade, when the possible young statesman was 
making his exit from the Philadelphia Institution, the forces and principles 
which we have here enunciated were not yet in full play. The old leadership 
of the Republic was determined by other conditions. Webster was Webster, 
without much regard to the State from which he issued. Calhonu was Calhoun, 
from wheresoever hailing. Clay was Clay, and Jackson was Jackson, with only 
slight reference to the sections of the Republic from which they came. In a 
large sense Webster stood for New England. In an equally large sense. Clay 
stood for the West. In like manner, Calhoun spoke for the South and fur the 
doctrines which the South represented. 

All these leaders were recently dead. Clay and Webster went away ; the 
first, when young Blaine entered the Philadelphia Institution ; and the other, 
four months later. Calhoun died just before Blaine's majority or while the 
latter was teaching mathematics to the boys of the academy at Blue Lake Springs. 
It was like the fall of three great trees from a forest of smaller growth. But 
what we are here saying is that the old style of personal leadership would no 
longer avail after the middle of the century. True, the elements of that leader- 
ship must still survive. But these elements must be reinforced with other 
conditions, in order to obtain the undisputed mastery which the old leaders had 
held in the public arena. 

We thus see that Blaine was both advantaged and disadvantaged in his 
removal to Maine. In Augusta, at that time, the leading newspaper was the 
Kennebec Joitrn a I. Its editor was Joseph Baker, a lawyer of ability and character. 
The paper was a weekly, but during the winter season, when the alternate 
sessions of the Maine Legislature were on, there was a tri-weekly edition. 
Baker, the proprietor and editor, desired to contract a partnership with some 
one, who should assist him in his editorial work. He was himself more of a 
lawyer than an editor. The likelihood is that he desired to remit into other 
hands the greater part of his editorial work. It was a knowledge of this open 
place in the editorship of the Kennebec Journal that induced Blaine to leave 
his professorship in Philadelphia and to make Augusta his future home. This 
he did in the summer of 1854. At this time he was in his twenty-fifth year. 
The name of Joseph Baker, at the head of the editorial column, was replaced 
with " Baker & Blaine," and the junior partner was launched in that enterprise 
which was destined to lead him, with rapid advances, to reputation and influence. 

The evolution of the political life in America has brought into clear relief 
one fact, and that is, that the legal life, the political life and the editorial life are 
closely interwoven. It is possible that one of these may run by itself. There 






tfkfet 




UJ.1J | 1 | 

: *&- 






i kvx q 



FAMILY BIDE AT BAR HARBOR. 

BLAINE'S RECEPTION AT AUGUSTA. 
OLD HOME OF THE "KENNEBEC JOURNAL- 



OCCUPIED BY MR. AND MRS BLAINE WHILE MR. BL \TVE xr\S 

A TKACHKR AT THE BLIND ASYLUM. PHILA. 
CHAIR USED BY MR. BLAINE WHILE TEACHING SCHOOL. 
THE FAMILY FAVORITE, JOSIF.. 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 65 

are great lawyers even the greatest who are not either editors or politicians. 
There have been great political leaders who were not editors and, in some 
instances, not lawyers. There have been great editors though rarely who have 
not been either politicians or lawyers. But for the most part, the three pro- 
fessions run together. The public man in America has something of all three 
in him. He who begins as a politician merely generally runs into law, and, 
at least, avails himself of editorial support. He who begins at law generally 
looks to political preferment. He who begins as editor generally looks to 
becoming a political leader himself, or else to a rank and influence which will 
enable him to make or unmake leaders with the wave of his hand. 

Blaine was, as we have seen, excellently equipped for the career on which 
he was now to enter. He was a good scholar; Washington College had fitted 
him well with general discipline for almost any kind of intellectual pursuit. 
He had, by his own application, fitted himself still better for intellectual leader- 
ship. The fact is that Blaine had, from his youth, a great and active mind. 
His seven years' experience in the teaching profession, with the coincident study 
of many things, at a time when the dying halo of the old personal leadership 
shone around him with the golden and red effulgence of sunset, had still further 
prepared him for that arena into which he now entered by the editorial 
room of an Augusta newspaper. There we see him established on the tripod, 
in the fall of 1S54, and there we note him as a tyro maker of public opinion. 

We should here mark with particularity, the then condition of public opinion 
in the United States. It was the true beginning of a great epoch. Blaine was 
happily in at the start. The period was transitional. An astonishing thing was 
happening in the party life of the United States. The great Whig organization was 
in articulo mortis. Its expiring throes were witnessed with wonder. It seemed to 
die without the stroke of man. Certainly the Democratic victory of 1S52, which 
had raised Pierce to the presidency over General Scott, was no sufficient excuse 
to the Whig party for dying, or even for desiring to die. We might well add, 
what object or motive could that great party assign for its sudden passion of 
death ? It became enamored of death, and nothing would suffice it but to expire. 
The Democratic party had a more tenacious vitality. It possessed, within its 
heart, contending spirits, which were destined soon to rend it with more than 
mortal fame. But the Democracy was not ambitious to die. 

Meanwhile, as compensatory of political dissolution in the one party and 
political travail in the other, the American or Knownothing organization 
appeared strangest political phenomenon and most short-lived of any of its kind. 
Certainly it never had a fellow in brevity and sudden bursting. It rose like 
Jonah's gourd by night, and in the morning it withered. 

When Blaine went to Augusta, Knownothingism was rampant. It had a 

germ of extreme truth and virtue in it. It was resolved, " To know nothing 

but the American Union." That kind of patriotism had merit and purpose. 

But it was also resolved to have " America for Americans that, and nothing 

5 



66 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

else." It was to be a prevailing fact to have been born in this happy country. 
It was to become an insuperable thing to have been born in any other country. 
There was to be a monopoly of patriotism and preferment on the line of 
American birth. No foreigners need apply for anything. In the face of the 
fact that so large a percentage of the American people were either mediately or 
immediately deduced from foreign blood, all was to be ignored and disclaimed. 
One's Irish or German parentage was to be sworn against as a thing that never 
was and never could have been. 

So the wave of Americanism went over us, and then subsided. But iu the 
meantime another question of more durable character and more humane interest, 
destined to roll and surge like an ocean around all the shores of thought and 
to work the greatest transformation in the society of the New World, arose, 
not indeed of the will of man, but of a power above man, and would not be 
quieted until it was solved with the sword. It was the question of human 
bondage a question as old as the first victory of the human brute over his 
fellow, when he beat him down and made him his bondman. 

Negro slavery had come into the United States and possessed it. It had 
dominated the Government. It had become vast, prodigious, awful in the 
darkness of its visage, portentous in its voice and prophecy. Strange that 
the battle with it should have begun far off beyond the Missouri and the 
Kaw, on the blossoming prairies of Kansas. There, historical conditions 
had been carefully prepared, which must break with the first splash of blood. 
There, the border-men of freedom and the border-men of slavery made an' 
issue and fought. The servants of Abraham and the servants of Lot 
contended and prevailed not either. 

The year 1854 saw all this and more. It was a time of beginning. Seeds 
were sown in every soil, the germination and springing up of which none could 
well foretell. On the whole, the sentiment in the American heart divided 
deep down in its chambers on the question of freedom and slaver}'. Everything 
was inchoate as yet. The publication of " Uncle Tom's Cabin " was a declara- 
tion of war. Helper's " Impending Crisis " was another declaration ; but neither 
the one book nor the other was so reckoned. The New York Tribune, with its 
bald-headed philanthropist, flushed in every feature with all the passions of 
humanity, was war ! Many things were war ; but no man laid it to heart. It 
was thought to be only contention. Kansas was a contention. The Fugitive 
Slave Law was a contention. Other things have passed away ; these also will 
pass with the morrow. 

The voice of the abolitionist was heard in the land, and many people 
loved him : but they lied, and said they hated him. He is not the first man 
whom the world has loved saying that it hated him. The declaration of hatred 
is a strong attestation of love. Snch is the contradiction of man-life and man- 
heart in the world. It says one thing and feels another. It would be interest- 
ing to know whether James G. Blaine, not yet twenty-five years of age, sitting at 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



67 



his desk in the Kennebec Journal office and writing his first editorial, was an 
abolitionist. Was he or was he not? Of course, he would disavow it. 
Perhaps his disavowal would be honest ; but it would probably be as false as 
it was honest. 

Among the many things now about to be born was a new political party. 
The coming of civilization was, for a long time, marked only with physical 
contests. At length the mental contest began, but the physical contest did not 
immediately abandon the field. It has not yet abandoned the field. Another 
century may still see men more interested in a visible than in an invisible 
struggle. Out of 
the physical contest 
arose the strongly 
accented political 
disposition of the 
peoples of Western 
Europe of America. 
As the physical con- 
test began to die 
awa}r, that second- 
ary form of battle, 
called politics, took 
its place. Thus the 
modern man became 
a political animal, 
and such he remains 
to-day. He and his 
fellows divide about 
something or no- 
thing, arrange them- 
selves in lines, 
appoint the captains, 
get the flags, invent 
a shibboleth, and go 

to battle. They intend to make carnage and have spoils. The carnage is not 
so much of bodies as of reputations, and the spoils are not the stripped-off 
shields and helmets, the wealth of the sacked villages and the treasures of 
rural granaries, as they are the emoluments of office and the extraction, from 
vast unseen pockets in the dark, of such riches and power as organization 
appropriates for itself and passes down by entail and official primogeniture. 

Therefore, out of one party there must come another. Rather the second 
must come against the first. While the present frame continues, there will be 
two parties in the State two at least, and perhaps several others. The day of 
virtue and revival is that in which the new party is born. One of the most 




blainb's editorial desk. 



68 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

instructive aspects of modern society is that which shows both the old parties, 
or the fragments of them, combining after their years of antagonism, hatred 
and fight, to crush the new and to decry it as the common enemy. Thus 
came the new Republican party. It was the voice of one crying in the 
wilderness, saying, " Prepare ye the way of the Lord! make his paths straight!" 
Never, in our times, has there been such another birth. With it came 
redemption and promise. This is not said of that party as it now stands after 
the lapse of thirty-eight years. But it is said of the original insurrection. 

James G. Blaiue was one of the insurgents. This shall be said to his 
honor. Of all the questions that were then current among the American 
people, be found interest and vitality in the one great question of freedom and 
slaver}^. Of course, the freedom was not openly and absolutely avowed. Nobody 
except the abolitionist openly and absolutely declared for truth and right. 
Only he had the courage to denounce as essentially vicious and criminal that 
whole dark system of human bondage that rested like a pall on one-half of 
the Union. But the young Republicans were at heart in sympathy with the 
abolitionists. They were themselves potential abolitionists. They were 
destined to become such at no very remote day. Of these the young editor of 
the Kennebec Journal was one. Of all the subjects which he wrote about and 
contended about, the issue of freedom for the Territories and of slavery 
restriction by a policy of hostility to the institution on the part of the 
Government, was the question which most aroused his energies and called 
forth his passion. 

Blaine, in all places and in all parts of his career, left behind him a 
strong tradition. That which grew up in his track at Augusta, in the early 
days after his settlement there, was that he knew everybody, and everybody 
knew him. There was nothing of the editorial recluse about such a man. 
He wrote and went abroad by turns. He plunged into everything. He 
warmed up the town, and the town took his temperature. 

Another feature of the early editorial situation was that of the intellectual 
surroundings. New England has ever been the home of intelligence. The 
" Province of Maine," being an outlying skirt of Massachusetts, was not 
behind in the particular referred to. The villagers and townsfolk of that 
commonwealth could think and talk. It was their manner to be exacting 
with their instructors. He who preached to them must preach something and 
do it well, or else come to book for his failure. He who wrote for them must 
in like manner write well and instructively or be left out. 

Blaine's accession to the editorial rank was at a time when the old, 
labored and interminable newspaper dissertation was going out, and the new 
crisp paragraph was coming in. The young editor of the Kennebec Journal 
caught at the change and adopted the new style of sharp and pungent writing. 
In such a situation he durst not give himself up to the change so freely as 
was done in the West, where editorial writing became as boisterous and 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 69 

reckless as it was pointed. In New England the editor must continue to 
be urbane, however sharply he might write. 

The files of the Kennebec Journal still exist with the pennon of " Baker 
& Blaine " flying at the head. In these old files the incipient statesmanship 
of James G. Blaine is to be discovered. It has been our fortune to extract 
from the mass of the young editor's productions certain parts which now, after 
the lapse of thirty-seven years, will, if we mistake not, be perused with 
interest by man}- people. 

The first extract which we shall here present is an editorial on Honorable 
Hannibal Hamlin, at that time Senator of the United States from Maine. 
Hamlin had been and still was a Democrat. As such he had been following 
the lead of his party up to a point beyond which he would not go. The 
break came and the Senator began to be a Republican. The following editorial 
presents the views of Blaine on the rebellion of Hamlin against the dictation 
of his part}' : 

{From the Kennebec Journal, June 20, 1856.) 

HONORABLE HANNIBAL HAMLIN. 

The remarks of this gentleman in the United States Senate last week, a 
brief synopsis of which we publish under the congressional head, are highly 
gratifying to the friends of freedom throughout the country. They are such 
that the people of Maine had the right to expect from him, and as in accord 
with his past views on the great issues that now agitate the country. 

Those who supposed Mr. Hamlin would support James Buchanan on a 
platform so anarchical and sweepingly pro-slavery as the one put forth at Cin- 
cinnati, have blindly reckoned without their host, and shown that they did not 
understand his real character. Mr. Hamlin sees what every intelligent and 
candid man will acknowledge, that the Democratic party of Jackson, Van 
Buren and Wright is no longer in existence, that what now goes by that 
name is a new organization composed of the worst materials of all former 
parties, drawn and held together by the hope of power and plunder, demanding 
no passport of admission and no pledge of party fidelity but devotion to the 
interests of slavery. 

The party is now a mere standing army, a Swiss guard, for protection 
and aggressive purposes of the slave-holding oligarchy. He, therefore, takes his 
stand with Bryant, Emmet, Blair, Butler, Trumbull, Banks and other tried 
and leading men of the Democratic party, in that new and vigorous organiza- 
tion which has so rapidly sprung into existence to rescue Liberty and the Union 
from the dangers that now imperil them. His course will be sustained by the 
people of this State in a most unmistakable manner, and his bold words that 
he will use all the power which God has given him against the enemies of the 
Republic who march under the Douglas flag have sent a thrill of joy to 
the hearts of true men all over the land. 



70 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

This was followed on the eighteenth of July, by an editorial entitled " The 
Truth about the Topeka Constitution": 

{From the Weekly Kennebec Journal, July 18, iSj6.) 
THE TRUTH ABOUT THE TOPEKA CONSTITUTION. 

The following letter will explain itself. It was deemed necessary in order 
to correct a gross misstatement made current by the Age and kindred papers. 

B. A. G. Fuller, Esq. New J OURNAI * FFICE ' JuLY I4 ' ^ 

Dear Sir : I observe that in the Age of the tenth instant, when speak- 
ing of the bill recently passed by the United States House of Representatives 
admitting Kansas with the Topeka Constitution, you intimate that that consti- 
tution contains a provision 

" Declaring that free negroes, whether of Maine, Massachusetts, or elsewhere, 
shall be deprived of the freedom of locating themselves in the free Territory of 
Kansas for all time to come." You cannot certainly have seen a copy of the 
Topeka Constitution, or you would not have published such a misstatement. I 
take pleasure in sending you herewith Senate Document No. 32, containing 
official copies of the memorials, praying for the admission of Kansas, as well as 
of the constitution accompanying them. Upon examination of the latter you 
will perceive that no such provision, as the one alluded to by you, is contained 
in it. The only portions of the instrument which bear upon the subject are to 
be found in the sixth and twenty-first sections of the Bill of Rights (marked), 
and they are of a very different character from the supposed provisions quoted by 
you. 

Not doubting that you will publicly correct the manifest error into which 
you have fallen, and into which you may lead others I am respectfully, 

Your obedient servant, J. G. Blaine. 

The two sections in the " Bill of Rights " referred to are as follows : 

" Section 6. There shall be no slavery in this State, nor involuntary servi- 
tude, unless for punishment of crime. 

"Section 21. No indenture of any negro or mulatto made and executed 
out of the bounds of the State shall be valid within the State." 

In response to the above letter, which, for good reasons, we deem it proper 
to publish, the Age of this week attempts to "crawl off" from its original 
charge, and to declare now that, although the Topeka Constitution as it passed 
the House of Representatives contained no such provision as the one alluded 
to, it nevertheless originally contained it, and that after all, the official copy is 
but a mutilated copy lucid statement 1 

The truth is, that no such provision was ever incorporated in the Kansas 
Constitution. The subject of excluding negroes was discussed in the Topeka 
Convention as a proposition independent of the constitution to be submitted to 
a vote of the people, and their decision, if affirmative, to act as instructions to 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 71 

the first legislature of the State of Kansas to pass a mere enactment to that 
effect, an enactment repealable by any succeeding legislature. This is the whole 
truth about this matter, and we trust the falsehood is finally nailed to the counter. 
On the eighth of August, 1S56, the State Convention of the Democratic 
party was held at Portland. At that date the Democracy in the States of the 
North was at a great disadvantage on account of the alleged sympathy between 
the party and the so-called border ruffians of Missouri and Kansas. The 
Republicans everywhere put the Democrats on the defensive for the support 
which the latter were alleged to give to the enemies of free territory and the 
friends of slavery. On the very day of the convention, Blaine published in his 
paper the following editorial : 

{From the Weekly Kennebec Journal, August 8, 1856.) 

INSULT TO THE PEOPLE OF MAINE THE SLAVE-DRIVERS' LASH CRACKED OVER 

THEIR HEADS. 

To-day (Thursday) the " Border Ruffian," Democracy ot Maine held a 
grand mass convention in Portland for the shameless purpose of attempting 
to intimidate and frighten the honest voters of the State into a support of their 
odious principles. Unless we greatly mistake human nature the base attempt 
will react with tremendous force on the bullying and brow-beating political 
managers who have resorted to it. 

The chief speakers for the occasion are two of the most noted pro-slavery 
leaders in the Union, Howell Cobb, of Georgia, and J. P. Benjamin, of Louisiana. 
The former has distinguished himself in his seat in Congress the present session 
by his defence of the murderer Hubert and of the assassin Brooks. He made 
a very lengthy report to show that in the villainous assault on Senator Sumner 
Brooks had done nothing whatever deserving reprehension, and he labored to 
the end against having the House take any action on the subject. Cobb and 
his colleague, A. H. Stephens, are the real " bull-dogs " of slavery, who continually 
and persistently revile and abuse the free States, and it is nothing less than a 
personal insult to the freemen of Maine to have such a man introduced into 
the State to lecture them on their political duties. The other man, Benjamin, 
is one of the Senators from Louisiana, and, until three months past, a Whig. 
Last autumn he made an open Disunion speech in New Orleans, and as a 
matter of course, immediately joined the " Border-Ruffian " Democracy. Dis- 
unionists always join that party. We believe, also, that Mr. Benjamin unites 
with his colleague Slidell in advocating the re-opening of the African slave 
trade. This, it is known, is a favorite idea with many of the leading Southern 
Democracy. We repeat that it is an insult to the people of Maine to introduce 
such a pair of men as Cobb and Benjamin into the State, and the desperate 
character of the " Border-Ruffian " party is shown by their resorting to it. The 
slave-drivers' lash is to be cracked in our ears so that we may get used to it 
in time. As in the continued success of the " Border-Ruffian " party it is to be 



72 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

heard in every State in the Union. The time when Toombs is to call the roll 
of his slaves from the foot of Bunker Hill Monument, as he boasted he will, 
seems to be rapidly approaching. 

To THIS was added, one week later, the following : 

( Weekly Kennebec Journal, August 75, 1S56.) 

FLAG WITH " EIGHTEEN STARS." 

At the Disunion " Border-Ruffian " Convention in Portland last week, both 
flags over the speakers' stand had eighteen' stars each. It has been well 
suggested that this is emblematic of the Southern Republic with the fifteen 
slave States. Kansas conquered Utah with polygamy and slavery and Cuba 
annexed. This is known to be a favorite idea with the Southern Democrats, 
but we hardly expected to see it outspoken as far north as Maine. Disunion 
stalks boldly forth in the land. | 

At the time referred to, Maine held her State election in September. 
This made it possible for her to declare herself in advance of the presidential 
contest. As had been foreseen, the decision of the State was tremendously in 
favor of the new Republican party. On the twelfth of September Blaine 
inserted the following editorial on the election : 

(From the Weekly Kennebec Journal, September 12, 1S56.) 

THE VOICE OF MAINE PRONOUNCING IN THUNDER TONES FOR LIBERTY ! FOR 
THE CONSTITUTION ! ! AND FOR THE UNION ! ! ! " BORDER RUFFIANISM " 
ROUTED AND SCOUTED, AND THE PRO-SLAVERY PARTY THOROUGHLY, COM- 
PLETELY AND DISASTROUSLY BEATEN ! MAINE SURE FOR FREMONT! BY 
2 5,000 MAJORITY ! ! 

The victory won by the Republicans of Maine on Monday last is, all 
things considered, the most remarkable triumph of principle ever achieved in 
a popular election. It is not only a defeat to the " Border-Ruffian " party, 
it is a rout, an extermination, a total annihilation. Hannibal Hamlin is so 
far the first that there is no second candidate; his majority is so over- 
whelming, so unprecedented, that even his most sanguine friends find 
themselves surprised and at a loss to comprehend the length and the breadth, 
the height and the depth of this " most famous victory." Professional 
politicians and skilled canvassers had no conception of such a result. No 
party, as a party, could ever have achieved it. It was a great irresistible 
movement of the people, smarting and indignant under the sense of a great 
national wrong already perpetrated, and still further wrong threatened and 
imminent. 

The questions growing out of the repeal of the Missouri compromise and 
the subsequent and still continuing outrages upon free States men in Kansas 
were the questions on which the people of Maine have just expressed an 
opinion, and expressed it in a manner so emphatic and unmistakable as to place 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 73 

it beyond the hazard of a misinterpretation. All questions of State policy, all 
minor issues were carefully and persistently excluded from the canvass by the 
Republicans, in order that the people might have no stumbling-blocks in the 
way of an honest declaration of opinion touching the one great, overshadowing 
question. Even the most odious and unpopular act of Governor Wills' admin- 
istration (the attack upon the judiciary in the removal of Judge Davis) was 
suffered to pass during the campaign with but casual mention, so anxious 
were the Republicans to concentrate public opinion on the national issues. 
Our friends in other States may therefore rest perfectly assured that the 
result of Monday last was the triumph of Fremont over Buchanan in the 
State of Maine. Nor is the immense majority given to Mr. Hamlin a fair 
index to Fremont's strength in Maine. His majority over Buchanan will be 
at least ten thousand more than Hamlin's over Wills. Though the Repub- 
licans waived all State issues from the canvass, as we have remarked above, 
our opponents sought by every means to introduce them and divert popular 
attention from the national question. The3 r constantly asserted and reiterated 
that the Maine " law " was in issue and that the Republicans would re-enact 
it next winter if successful. In this way the "Buchanans," no doubt, drew 
from Hamlin several thousand votes that are sure for Fremont. The straight 
Whig thimble-rig was also the means of deceiving from twenty-five hundred to 
three thousand old Whigs, who will vote for Fremont and who never will 
follow Farley, Little, Sanborn and Co. into the Nebraska Locofoco camp. 
These men were deceived by the trick of nominating Patten for Governor and 
four Straight Whigs for Congress. November will bring them all right, and 
they will be willing hands in swelling the majority for Fremont to twenty- 
five thousand. 

Maine has done her full duty to the cause of national freedom and she 
now calls upon her sister States to imitate her glorious example. Let the 
people be enlightened. Let information as to the mighty issue involved be 
spread before them. Let them know the perfidy of the compact-breakers and 
the horrible outrages upon free States men in Kansas, enacted with the 
complicity and countenance of the national administration, and they will speak 
in other States as they have spoken in Maine in thunder tones for Liberty, 
for the Constitution, and for the Union ; for Liberty as the life-blood of the 
Constitution, and for the Constitution as the palladium of the Union. 

Under date of September 26, 1856, there appears a bit of "editorial cor- 
respondence " written from Boston, under the signature of " B." This is 
clearly a case of " B stands for Blaine." The letter is as follows : 

{From the Weekly Kennebec Jozimal, September 2(5, 1856. Editorial Correspondence.') 

Boston, September 26, 1856. 
The Buchanan and Fillmore men have sttidiously attempted to create the 
impression that the vote of Massachusetts was at least doubtful, and that there is 



74 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

some hope of throwing it against Fremont. Since the conventions at Worcester 
last week the opposition have caved in and the universal acknowledgment 
now is that the Bay State will go for Fremont and Dayton by a majority 
overwhelming and unprecedented. Some of the most sanguine of the Republi- 
cans place the majority as high as 80,000, the probability is that it will fall 
short of 50,000 over the combined vote of Buchanan and Fillmore. The vote 
for Gardiner will fall short of Fremont's some thousands, though not enough 
to imperil his election by a very large majority. The Fillmore Americans have 
completely "flattened out" since the nomination of Gordon. Had Amos A. 
Lawrence consented to stand as a candidate, it is not improbable that he 
would have been elected. His declination was a sore blow to mischievous 
huukerism hereabouts; the nomination of Bell by the "Straight Whigs" will 
command no support worth reckoning. The union effected at Worcester has 
also insured a unanimous congressional delegation from the State favorable to 
fill Kansas. Banks and Burlingame will be re-elected by increased majorities. 
All eyes here, as in Maine, are turned on Pennsylvania. As I am en route in 
that State to witness the " great battle " I shall endeavor to keep the readers 
of the Journal faithfully and truthfully advised of the actual state of the case. 
" I shall nothing extenuate, nor set down aught for buncome." I find our great 
victory in Maine is thoroughly appreciated elsewhere. The common acknowl- 
edgment is that if Fremont is elected President, Maine deserves the credit of 
accomplishing it. B. 

It appears that Mr. Blaine at this time went abroad and sent in his 
contributions in the form of correspondence. From Philadelphia, under date of 
September 26, he writes as follows : 

{Editorial Correspondence of Weekly Keymebec Journal, October 3, 1856. ) 
THE CONTEST IN PENNSYLVANIA. 

Philadelphia, September 26, 1856. 
It would be untrue to say that the result of the presidential contest in 
in this State is other than doubtful; it would be equally untrue to represent it 
as other than exceedingly hopeful for the cause of Fremont and freedom. 
All men have acknowledged that the Republican party is making rapid and 
decided gains every day in all parts of the State. In some sections, hitherto 
Democratic strongholds, the change will be so thorough as to amount to a clean 
sweep; in all sections there is acknowledged to be a decided majority opposed to 
the election of James Buchanan. The only question is Can this adverse 
majority be so concentrated as to defeat the "common enemy." If separate 
electoral tickets be run for Fillmore and Fremont, the probability is that 
Buchanan would obtain a plurality. The vote would perhaps stand : 
Fillmore - 50,000 

Fremont 185,000 

Buchanan ----- 195,000 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 75 

The total vote given here four hundred and thirty thousand is larger by 
forty-five thousand than has ever been cast ; but, after the astonishing increase in 
the vote of Maine, the above will not seem too large a margin to allow for that silent 
vote which is only brought out on occasions of extraordinary intent and emergency. 

Though the above calculation is given as the most probable, it is but just 
to say that the vote* allowed to Fillmore is far larger than is conceded to him 
by many of the sagacious politicians of this city. A gentleman of great shrewd- 
ness in politics, and with abundant facilities for forming a correct judgment, 
told me yesterday that a separate electoral ticket for Fillmore could not poll 
over twenty-five thousand votes, and that Fremont's vote would unquestionably 
go largely beyond two hundred thousand this giving him a plurality over 
Buchanan. With what I have seen and what I know of Pennsylvania politics, 
I should regard this calculation as too sanguine, and therefore unreliable. I 
should say, moreover, that Fremont's success, or an assurance of it, depends on 
forming a union electoral ticket against Buchanan, and I am glad to be able 
to say that there is every prospect of this being done in an honorable and 
amicable spirit. The two parties are already united on the State ticket to be 
elected on the fourteenth of October, and they have united also on every con- 
gressional district in the State save one, and there is no doubt that a union will 
be effected there also. With this spirit of concord and unity, it is quite evident 
that there will be no serious obstacle to the formation of a union electoral 
ticket. This will be resisted by a small faction of Fillmore men in this city, 
who hold the same relation to the " Border-Ruffian " Democracy of Pennsyl- 
vania that Evans, Little, Farley, Sanborn and Co. do to the " Border-Ruffian " 
Democracy of Maine. The great mass of the Fillmore men in this State, 
however, are honest in their opposition to Buchanan, and though their first 
choice is Mr. Fillmore, they are willing to promote the election of Fremont 
where the contest is simply between him and Buchanan. 

The congressional elections are very promising. Out of the twenty-five 
members to be chosen, there will probably be twenty who will prove true blue 
to the cause of free Kansas. From this city there will be a most gratifying 
change, as the pliant and treacherous Tyson will be succeeded by that eloquent 
and true-hearted champion of freedom, Edward Joy Morris. With Grow and 
Hunkel and Ritchie and Allison and Morris on the floors of Congress, there is 
no danger but that the voice of the " Keystone " will always be heard for the 
cause of " Liberty and Union." B. 

If we mistake not, Blaine was taking part in the campaign in Pennsylvania. 
His next letter is written from Pittsburgh, under date of October 4, 1856, as 
follows : 

{Editorial Correspondence of the Weekly Kennebec Journal, October 10, 1856.) 

Pittsburgh, Pa., October 4, 1856. 
The feeling in favor of Fremont in all the western counties of this State 
is intense. This city is fairly wild with political excitement, and meetings held 



76 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

every night in the largest of halls and crowded to the utmost. I have attended 
two of these meetings, last night and night before, and never have I seen such 
enthusiastic demonstrations. Every ward in the city has its Fremont Glee 
Club, and in the intervals of speaking the audience is entertained with a choice 
vocal concert. The majority for Fremont west of the mountains will be far 
greater than for the union State ticket on the fourteenth. What height it will 
yet reach no one can predict or foresee; it is daily swelling, and the majority 
in this city and county may go as high as ten thousand, and certainly will not 
be under seven thousand. The union State ticket will probably be carried by 
five or six thousand, but large numbers of Democrats who will vote against 
that avow their inteution of going for Fremont in November. All the Repub- 
lican members of Congress from this section of the State will be re-elected ; 
Knight, of the Washington district, and Edie of Somerset, will have the hardest 
contests, but they will both be elected by handsome majorities. Edie has a good 
deal of Fillmore feeling to contend with in Somerset, the only western county 
in which it is found ; it is, however, sincerely opposed to Buchanan, and will all 
be brought to the right mark in time. All 'the counties bordering on Maryland 
are more or less tinctiired with pro-slavery ism, or at least exhibit a shameful 
insensibility to the gross outrages perpetrated by the slave power in Kansas. 
By good management, however, they will be made to contribute to Buchanan's 
defeat just as thoroughly and effectually as though they were sincere converts 
to the true Republican faith. Somerset is perhaps as difficult as any of them ; 
all its trade and business intercourse are with Baltimore and Cumberland, and 
the effect of this can readily be imagined. The prospect in New Jersey grows 
more hopeful and cheering every day, and notwithstanding the desperate efforts 
of the Stockton Fremontites to give the State to Buchanan, our friends feel 
quite confident that they will be able to carry it. Many of the hardest hunker 
districts have been carefully canvassed, and the result shows that the Fremont 
vote is about equal to Fillmore and Buchanan united ; if this is so, there can 
be little doubt that the Republicans will cast the plurality, which alone is 
requisite to secure the electoral vote. Taking this in connection with the 
recent news from California, and the prospect of Fremont's carrying every free 
State is certainly growing brighter every day. B. 

The next extract which we shall present is written from Philadelphia, under 
date of October n. It is clear that the writer had returned from his trip 
through the State, and is ready to present his deductions and conclusion. He 
does so as follows : 

{Editorial Correspondence of Weekly Kennebec Journal, October 77, 1856.) 
THE GREAT BATTLE FOUGHT. 

Philadelphia, October 11, 1856. 
Before this letter is published the returns of the Pennsylvania election will 
be before the people of Maine. It is useless, therefore, to enter into any further 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 77 

calculation or prognostications of the result. I therefore content myself with 
the belief expressed in former letters, that the State is safe for the union ticket 
by a majority which may be as low as five thousand, and which may run as 
high as forty thousand a medium will perhaps be near to the truth. Imme- 
diately after the State election, a union electoral ticket will be formed. The 
basis which is most favorably received is as follows : Twenty-six electors shall 
consist of the same names ; the twenty-seventh elector on the Fillmore ticket 
shall consist of a different name from the twenty-seventh on the Fremont ticket. 
For example, Millard Fillmore and twenty-six other names selected from several 
congressional districts shall form one ticket, and John C. Fremont and the same 
twenty-six names above referred to shall form the other ticket. The twenty-six 
electors shall be pledged to cast the electoral votes of the State for Millard 
Fillmore and John C. Fremont respectively, precisely in proportion to the 
popular votes cast for each as indicated by the twenty-seventh elector on each 
ticket. For example, if Millard Fillmore (or the twenty-seventh elector who 
represents him) receives an equal number of votes with John C. Fremont (or his 
representative), then thirteen electoral votes shall be given for Millard Fillmore 
and thirteen for John C. Fremont. 

This mode, it will be observed, involves the loss of one elector, at least it 
does so unless Fremont can poll an absolute majority over Buchanan, which, 
under the above arrangement, would hardly seem probable. Mr. Buchanan will 
thus, in any event, receive one electoral vote from his own State. According 
to the rates of division suggested in the above arrangement, it is expected that 
Fremont will get eighteen or twenty of the electoral votes to Fillmore's six or 
eight. The disparity may, indeed, be even greater; some well-posted calculators 
will not allow Fillmore more than three out of the twenty-six. If Fremont 
carries all the New England States, together with New York and the North- 
west, he will only need eleven more votes to give him a majority in the 
electoral college- 

Conceding, therefore, the States of New Jersey and California to Mr. 
Buchanan (both of which he will probably lose), it is still evident that Fremont- 
will be elected, and have a margin of seven or eight votes to spare. The 
calculation may be summed np as follows : 

STATES CERTAIN FOR FREMONT. 



Maine, . 8 


electoral 


votes. 


Ohio,. 


23 


electoral 


votes. 


New Hampshire, 5 


u 


li 


Indiana, 


J 3 


(i 


it 


Vermont, . 5 


li 


a 


Illinois, 


11 


u 


11 


Massachusetts, 13 


u 


(( 


Michigan, 


6 


a 


a 


Rhode Island, 4 


u 


u 


Wisconsin, 


5 


K 


u 


Connecticut, 6 


u 


u 


Iowa, . 


4 


u 


<i 


New York, . 35 


u 


u 











Total, 138 



78 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

The whole electoral college consists of 296 votes, making 149 necessary to 
an election. If, therefore, in addition to the 138 votes above, which may be 
regarded as certain for Fremont, he can get eleven only of the Pennsylvania 
votes, he will undoubtedly be the next President of the United States. In this 
calculation, as we have before mentioned, the States of New Jersey and Cali- 
fornia are conceded for Buchanan, though his chances of carrying either of 
them seem to be growing " beautifully less " every day. 

Even if Buchanan should carry Pennsylvania, he would fail of an election 
by the people, as the fact is now patent and indisputable that he must lose 
two, if not three, of the Southern States. The Baltimore election settles the 
case for Maryland, and the news from Florida indicates that the " Border- 
Ruffian " column is wavering and tottering, even in its supposed stronghold in 
the far South. The truth is that the true " Union " men of the South are 
becoming disgusted with the disunion rant and faction of Wise, Brooks, Keitt 
and Co., and are preparing, under the lead of Botts, Bates, Winter Davis and 
others, to co-operate with the Republicans of the free States in supporting 
President Fremont's administration. 

We shall not be surprised if Mr. Buchanan should fail to carry more than 
twelve States, leaving sixteen to Fremont and three to Fillmore. 

B. 

Finally, we may append the following extract, in which there is a vein of 
interesting personality, which explains itself. 

{From Ken?2ebec Journal, August 22, 1856. ) 

The Age does us " honor overmuch " when it says that we " claim an 
intimacy " with the " Border-Ruffian " candidate for the vice-presidency. We never 
made such a claim publicly or privately. We knew Mr. Breckinridge in 
former years, both personally and politically, and had the pleasure of using 
our feeble efforts against his election to Congress in Kentucky the first time 
he was a candidate. Since then it has never been our fortune to meet him. 
We know him to be a man of ability, but of the worst school of politics the 
Southern Secessionists. If we had time and space we could give some chapters 
in his political life not very creditable to him. We may do so at another time. 

The Age says we were in Kentucky when Matt. Ward was tried. This is 
mere assertion recklessly put forth. We had left the State more than two years 
before. 

To THIS editorial fusillade and battle, conducted by one who had in him so 
many and so high ambitions, there could be but a single issue. He must 
himself enter the field as a contestant for political honors and advancements. 
This he did. The way led him naturally enough to the smaller distinctions of 
service in the legislature of his adopted State. It was in the fall of 1858 that 
he first stood for election at the hands of the people. It is said that he was 
rather nervous and timid on first going before his proposed constituents. He 




g 
o 



H 

fi 

SO 
O 




(79) 



80 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

consulted with his friends and seemed to shrink somewhat from the necessary 
candidacy. It is narrated that his friends had rather to urge him forward than 
to hold him back. Notwithstanding his impetuous desire to be distinguished 
and notwithstanding his intellectual courage, of which he always possessed the 
largest measure, he 'shrank from the arena and seemed to fear his first political 
contest. He had, if we mistake not, that kind of nervous tremor which young 
military captains have in daring their first battle. General Grant has narrated, 
with the greatest interest to his readers, the story of his trial passage with the 
Confederates at Belmont, and how he was scared half out of his wits until he 
chanced to reflect that the Confederate officer commanding against him was 
perhaps worse frightened than he was. 

Before narrating Blaine's first experience in a political contest, in which he 
himself was a leader, we should refer to an initial passage of the canvass of 
1856. This year may be said to have marked a beginning of Blaine's public 
life. On the twenty-second of August he was chosen secretary of a great 
Repubican mass meeting in Augusta to ratify the nomination of General Fremont 
for the presidency. It is recorded that on that occasion he showed in his 
manner every symptom of bashfulness and timidity. But, at the same time, 
he was carried forward by his ardent desire to participate in affairs and to win 
the laurels of leadership. Already he had served as a delegate from the 
Kennebec district in the first Republican National Convention, by which 
Fremont had been put in nomination. On his return from that convention, he 
made, at a public meeting, an address, in which was incorporated a report of the 
proceedings by which the Pathfinder had been chosen as the first' standard 
bearer of the coming party. 

Persons present on the occasion have left a record of the manner and matter 
of the speaker, still young in years and inexperienced in the actual work of 
public delivery. Whatever may be a man's preparation, it is always a critical 
test when he has to begin; that is, to begin actually. How great a thing 
it is for a young physician to administer his first pill ! How greater a thing 
it is for the young lawyer to say actually and in sober earnest for the first 
time, " May it please the court, gentlemen of the jury ! " How greatest a thing 
it is for a young political leader first to assume, in public speech, the office of 
instructing, exciting and persuading his auditors ! It was noted on the occasion 
referred to that what Blaine said was remarkably clear ; that he did not repeat 
himself; that the editorial style appeared in his matter and arrangement; that he 
was afraid to let out his voice, and gave many signs of timidity and backward- 
ness. It was also noted that his memory worked like a clock. Though it was almost 
painful to see the embarrassment of the young orator, he none the less got in 
his facts and made his speech and his argument. 

An eye-witness has said of the speaker on this occasion : " He turned pale 
and red by turns, and almost tottering to the front, stood trembling until the 
generous applause which welcomed him had died away, when by a supreme: 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES B. BLAINE. 81 

effort he broke the spell, at first by the utterance of some hesitating words of 
greeting and thanks, and then gathering confidence went on with a speech which 
stirred the audience as with the sound of a trumpet and held all present in 
breathless interest and attention to its close. From that moment Mr. Blaine 
took rank among the most effective popular speakers of the day ; but it may 
be doubted if among the many maturer efforts of his genius and eloquence upon 
the political platform of the legislative tribune, he has ever excited an audience 
to a more passionate enthusiasm or left a profounder impression upon the minds 
and hearts of his hearers. " 

Much interest attaches to this maiden effort of him who was to be twice 
Secretary of State. It illustrates forcibly and well the common fact with great 
speakers; namely, that trepidation, stammering, and extreme nervous agitation, 
and combustion of force are the invariable precursors of success. It is not well 
that a young speaker, on going to his trial, should appear calm, dispassionate 
and unexcited. It is not natural that he should be so. There must be the rush 
of youthful blood ; the sudden and tremendous accumulation of nerve force in 
the brain ; the surging of all the emotions and psychonomy of the being to one 
vital organ and then another, resulting in disturbance, swimming of the vision, 
half-blindness, stage fright, despair, oblivion, folly and all that if the speaker 
is destined to greatness. By and by the ocean will come to a calm ; the waters 
below will divide themselves from the waters above ; the sky will appear ; the 
sharp outline of far shores be seen ; and above, the stars. Then the speaker 
will begin to reveal the mysteries of his spirit and purpose to others and to 
lead them in the pathway of his command. All the great acts of life commence 
if they commence well with agitation, pain, exhaustion of nervous force and 
flashes of the ludicrous. 

In another part of this volume we shall present more fully some of the 
products of Blaine's mind at this period of his career. He helped to fight 
through the Fremont battle and to carry his adopted State for the Republican 
ticket. His influence told upon the issue of the campaign. His battle in the 
Kennebec Journal and in other newspapers was ably fought. He was indefatigable 
in season and out of season. Though the general result was adverse to the 
ticket which he siipported, it was nevertheless full of encouragement and promise. 
The casting of a large electoral vote for John C. Fremont, in this first contest 
of the new party, was significant to a degree. The decision of November, 1856, 
had the similitude of a man's hand writing on the plaster over against the 
throne-place of the Ancient Order, and tracing thereon the significant MENE, 
MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. The writing was clouded with smoke and 
seen by flashes of flame, which shone as far as the Platte, the Arkansas, the 
Gulf, the Rio Grande. No man might any longer doubt the significance of the 
phenomenon which had appeared in the political sky. 

All this was seen and read by Blaine. He was still in the first flush of 
manhood. He threw himself with ever-increasing confidence into the humane 
6 



82 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



but dangerous movement of the day. There were breakers ahead, rapids, rocky 
shores, plunges and possibly a Niagara of dissolution and war. Whether he 
saw it or did not see it, he took the chances of the event with many another 
aspiring young man destined to leadership and national fame. 

Blaine at length came forward in his district as a candidate for the Legis- 
lature. This was in the fall of 1858. It was coincident in time with the 
Lincoln and Douglas debates. The intellectual battle was now fairly on. The 
tall, gaunt Illinoisan defined it fully when he declared that a honse divided 
against itself must fall. And never was there a more significant appli- 
cation of a great aphorism. The house was divided against itself. Either 
must one of the contending parties go to the wall and be extinguished 
along with the principles which it professed, or the house itself must tumble 
into ruins. This principle was caught and enunciated. Blaine took it up 
and promulgated it first editorially and afterwards in public speeches 

We should here 



remark that seme 
changes occurred 
in his editorial re- 
lations about this 
time. He held the 
position which he 
had taken, as asso- 
ciate editor of the 
Kennebec Journal, 
until the ninth of 
October, 1857, 
when he sold out 
to John S. Say- 
ward, of Bangor. The name of Sayward took the place of Blaine as 
proprietor and editor. The latter was induced to make this change by two 
motives. The first was, some disagreement in policy with his partner, Baker. 
The latter was a more conservative man than was the junior partner, and 
would fain have the paper conducted in a manner less radical. Blaine, on 
the contrary, was wont to rush ahead ; to plunge into new questions ; to say 
new and audacious things on old questions and thus to keep his rather sedate 
partner in hot water. The other motive was that of personal advantage. Blaine 
retired from the Journal to accept a better paying and more influential position 
on the Portland Daily Advertiser, with which paper his name was connected 
until his election to Congress. 

In the fall of 1858, the young politician was chosen to the lower House 
of the Legislature of Maine and went to that body with a strong majority 
behind him. He was now twenty-eight years of age. It is said, that notwith- 
standing the public experience of the last two years, his timidity and 




F PORTLAND, MAINE. 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



embarrassment were still seen with his every appearance. Though his memory 
was prodigious, he did not trust to the use of that faculty to the extent of 
extemporizing anything that he had to say in public. The editorial habit was 
strong with him. He was, we believe, one of the first of. our popular speakers 
to write out completely and memorize what he was going to deliver in public. 
This he did in the case of the speeches which he delivered while a candidate 
for the Legislature. It may be doubted whether speeches so prepared and 
committed would be very effective west of the Alleghanies ; but in and about 
Augusta the people were of such temper and culture as to appreciate this style 
of oratory. Blaine's delivery, bat- 
ing his embarrassment, was alwa3 7 s 
admirable ; always direct. Thus 
he went through his canvass for 
the lower House successfully, gain- 
ing upon the esteem and admira- 
tion of his constituency. 

It is clear in the retrospect 
that, notwithstanding the impet- 
uosity and high-nervous tension 
of the subject of this narrative, 
he was, nevertheless, cautions and 
prudent. This was the paradox 
of his nature. His caution and 
prudence stood him well in hand. 
They taught him to begin in a 
comparatively low and easy key. 
He entered the Legislature in 
this mood. He passed his first 
experiences in that body in a 
manner quiet and almost unob- 
served. At length he began to 

assert himself, particularly on party blaine at 28. 

questions. At that time all the legislatures were looking up from their own local 
affairs and projects to the greater affairs of the Republic. Whenever the debates 
turned in this direction Blaine was in the midst. During his first term of service, 
he went forward steadily to the position of a foremost man. He had the approval 
of his constituency. He was re-elected in 1859, in 1S60 and in 1861. At the 
beginning of his third term he was chosen speaker, being then at the age of 
thirty. This honor was conferred again at the beginning of the next session ; 
so that, before his entrance into Congress, he had already acquired experience 
in the matter of presiding over deliberative bodies. 

This is in brief the history of the young Maine politician on his way to 
leadership and national reputation. We may pause to remark upon the swift 




84 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



movement of events during the time of his service in the Legislature of his 
State. No other period in our history has been more critical than the four 
years extending from 1858 to 1862. Everything was undergoing the pangs of 
transformation. The nation was entering the furnace blast, in which it was to 
be renewed and from which it was to come forth if come at all purified and 
regenerated. The slavery question was in all minds and hearts. The antag- 
onism between the advocates of that institution and its enemies grew more and 
more intense. The Kansas war worked out its own results in the final adop- 
tion of a free state constitution at Topeka. But the slavery element along 
the border still muttered and fought. The Dred Scott decision was slowly 

prepared, and at 
length issued. That 
pronunciamento w a s 
to be the be-all and 
end-all of the matter. 
A paper document, 
full of sound logic and 
other such infamy, 
was put forth as a 
settlement of the 
whole question against 
the rights of man and 
the very principles of 
human nature. May 
be the negro is a hu- 
man being, but he is 
not a man ! He is a 
chattel! He cannot be or become anything but 
a chattel. His chattelhood is plainly deducible 
from the unmistakable letter and influence of 
the Constitution of the United States. That 
document virtually makes slavery universal. An 
owner may take his chattels everywhere. Even 
the State Constitution cannot impede him. " Nigger " is " nigger," to all 
generations ! Cursed be Canaan anyhow ! Such was the atrocious meter and 
rhythm of this incalculable bulletin issued by the Supreme Court of our 
country! And yet it was able law! Such inconsistencies and atrocities history 
is able to introduce in this arena of alleged civilization ! 

There also came the apparition of Old John Brown. He was Ossa- 
wattomie Brown. He had six brave sons. The3' had fought in the 
Kansas war. Some of them were dead. The brave Captain Brown devoted 
himself on the altars of his country. He was a man of ideas ; rather, of 
one idea. 




LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



85 



" All merit comes 
From braving the unequal ; 
All glory comes from daring to begin. 
Fame loves the State 
That, reckless of the sequel, 
Fights long and well, whether it lose or win. 




JOHN BROWN'S FORT AND HARPER'S FERRY. 



"And there was ONE 
Whose faith, whose fight, whose failing, 
Fame shall placard upon the walls of time. 
He dared begin 
Despite the unavailing, 
He dared begin wheu failure was a crime." 

Old Ossawattomie Brown began it. He attacked the world with fewer than 
twenty men ! He had pikes instead of guns. He and his fellows had hammered 
out curious mediaeval spearheads in the fall of 1859. Then 



86 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

" He went into the valley there 

Without a comrade for his soul ; 
He struck ! and all the world was 'ware 

That that one blow would make us whole ! 
" For armies rose from out the earth, 

And great ships loomed upon the sea ; 
And Liberty had second birth 
In fire and blood and victory ! " 

Then opened the drama of secession. The American Union was rent; 
it was torn with extreme violence. One State after another declared herself 
most impudently absolved from allegiance to the Government built by the 
Fathers. Away they went into dissolution and inevitable war. Was it possible 
that the secessionists thought the Government that is, the people of the 
United States would indeed " Let them alone ? " Could it be supposed that the 
great Republic would lie down supinely and let herself be dismembered and 
destroyed ? Was it thinkable that the fire of resentment and battle would not 
blaze in her flushed breast ; that her sword would not flash out with the 
brilliancy of extreme anger ; that she would not break her cords and cast their 
bonds asunder, striking with vengeful and vindictive sword-cuts at all them 
who had risen against her rather than let herself be dishonored, shamed and 
destroyed before the nations ? 

So the leaders of disunion seemed to think ; so they said ; so they would 
have the world believe. And, indeed, the world either believed it or appeared 
to believe it. But the American heart did not believe it. There was a 
residue of loyal blood that rose like a torrent in millions of hearts and began 
to foam and rush through all arteries and veins until the vindication of 
freedom and the breaking of the bondman's chains should be accomplished ! 
We here speak of these great questions, seen now in the backward look with 
patriotic indignation, only for the purpose of making clear the forces and 
opinions and incipient battle, in the midst of which the rising young 
statesman of Maine was disciplined and brought to man's full estate. 

We may pause to note some of his specific work in the Legislature of 
his State. As we have said, that Legislature as well as many others was 
busy with the great questions of the day. Those questions came on in full 
force after Blaine's election to the speakership. But he was wont, on occasion, 
to come down to the floor and participate actively in the debate. In the 
beginning of 1862, the question of the confiscation of rebel property was on 
in Congress, and there was a division of sentiment with respect thereto. On the 
seventh of February, in this year, the following resolutions relating to national 
affairs were adopted in the Senate of Maine and afterwards sent to the House 
for concurrence : 

" Resolved, That we cordially endorse the administration of Abraham 
Lincoln in the conduct of the war against the wicked and unnatural enemies 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



87 



of the Republic, and that in all its measures calculated to crush this 
rebellion speedily and finally, the administration is entitled to and will receive 
the unwavering support of the loyal people of Maine. 

" Resolved, That it is the duty of Congress, by such means as will not 
jeopard the rights and safety of the loyal people of the South, to provide 
for the confiscation of estates, real and personal, of rebels, and for the 
forfeiture and liberation of every slave claimed by any person who shall 
continue in arms against the authority of the United States, or who 
shall in any manner aid and abet the present wicked and unjustifiable 
rebellion. 

" Resolved, That in this perilous crisis of the country, it is the duty of 
Congress, in the exercise of its constitutional power to " raise and support 
armies," to provide by 
law for accepting the ser- 
vices of all able-bodied 
men of whatever status, 
and to employ these men 
in such a manner as 
military necessity and 
the safety of the Re- 
public may demand. 

" Resolved, That a 
copy of these resolutions 
be sent to the Senators 
and Representatives in 
Congress from this State, 
and that they be re- 
spectfully requested to 
use all honorable means 
to secure the passage of 
acts embodying their 
spirit and substance." STATE capital at adgusta, mk. 

These resolutions were adopted by a large majority and sent to the House 
for approval. In all the Northern States there were, at that time, certain men 
who represented the residue of the Ancient Order. These were constitutionally 
opposed to everything. Let us concede to them a useful office. Certainly 
they contributed something to the history of the times. On the occasion 
referred to, a certain Mr. Gould, of Thomaston, spoke on the Senate 
resolutions, opposing them with all his might in an elaborate argument. This 
situation was of precisely the kind to bring out the powers of Blaine. He 
came to the charge and supported the resolutions with a spirit peculiarly 
his own. In his remarks we may discover the temper and purpose of the 
man : 




88 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

SPEECH ON THE SENATE RESOLUTIONS IN SUPPORT OF THE POLICY OF THE 

GOVERNMENT. 

Mr. Chairman The first hour of the seven which the gentleman from 
Thomaston has consumed I shall pass over with scarcely a comment. It was 
addressed almost exclusively, and in violation of parliamentary rules, to 
personal matters between himself and a distinguished citizen from the same 
section, lately the gubernatorial candidate of the Democratic party, and now 
representing the County of Knox in the other branch of the Legislature 
(Col. Smart). With that quarrel, here or elsewhere, it would be unseemly 
for me to meddle, and without intending disrespect to either gentleman, I 
may quote the Grub street couplet, apt if not elegant, as illustrating my 

position : 

" For the matter of that I don't care a toss up, 
Whether Mossup kicks Barry or Barry kicks Mossup.' 

And at the game of " kicking," I warn the gentleman from Thomaston, 
from my own past observation, that he will find the Senator from Knox quite 
as valiant an adversary as he will care to encounter. Without further delay 
on matters personal, I proceed, sir, to the discussion of what I may term the 
inestimably important question submitted to the judgment of this Legislature. 

I shall best make myself understood, and perhaps most intelligibly 
respond to the argument of the gentleman from Thomaston, by discussing the 
question in its two phases : first, as to the power of Congress to adopt the 
measures conceived in the pending resolutions ; and secondly, as to the 
expediency of adopting them. And at the very outset, I find between the 
gentleman from Thomaston and myself, a most radical difference as to the 
"war power" of the Constitution; its origin, its extent, and the authority 
which shall determine its action, direct its operation, and fix its limit. He 
contends, and he spent some four or five hours in attempting to prove, that 
the war power in this Government is lodged wholly in the Executive, and in 
describing his almost endless authority he piled Ossa on Pelion until he had 
made the President under the war power perfectly despotic, with all preroga- 
tives and privileges concentrated in his own person and then to end the 
tragedy with a farce, with uplifted hands he reverently thanked God that 
Abraham Lincoln was not an ambitious villain (like some of his Democratic 
predecessors, I presume) to use this power, trample on the liberties of the 
nation, erect a throne for himself, and thus add another to the list of 
usurpers that have disfigured the world's history. That was precisely the line 
of the gentleman's logic first stripping all the other departments of their 
proper and constitutional power, heaping it all on the President, and then 
thanking God that the President does not rule as the caprices of tyranny 
might dictate ! Could argumentative nonsense go farther ? 

I dissent from these conclusions of the gentleman. I read the Federal 
Constitution differently ! I read in the most pregnant and suggestive section 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE- 89 

of that immortal charter that certain " powers " are declared to belong to Congress. 
I read therein that "Congress shall have power" among other large grants of 
authority, " to provide for the common defence ; " that it shall have power " to 
declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning 
captures on land and water;" that it shall have power to "raise and support 
armies," to " provide and maintain a navy," and to " make rules for the gov- 
ernment of the land and naval forces ; " and as though these powers were not 
sufficiently broad and general, the section concludes in its eighteenth subdivision, 
by declaring that Congress shall have power " to make all laws which shall be 
necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers and all 
other powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, 
or in any department or officer thereof." Mark that " in any department or 
officer thereof! " 

* * H: :i: :i: * * 

At the origin of our Government, Mr. Chairman, the people were jealous 
of their liberties ; they gave power guardedly and grudgingly to their rulers ; 
they were hostile, above all things, to what is termed the one-man power, and 
you cannot but observe with what peculiar care they provided against the abuse 
of the war power. For after giving Congress the power " to declare war," and 
" to raise and support armies," they added in the Constitution these remarkable 
and emphatic words, " but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for 
a longer term than two years," which is precisely the period for which the 
Representatives in the popular branch are chosen. Thus, sir, this power is not 
given to Congress simply, but in effect it was given to the House of Repre- 
sentatives ; the people placing it where they could lay their hands directly upon 
it at every biennial election, and say " yes " or " no " to the principles or policy 
of any war. And it is worthy of note that this popular control is secured at 
every corner and through every loophole of the Constitution ; for not only do 
the people in their primary capacity, by direct suffrage, elect their Representa- 
tives every two years, but in a case of a vacancy happening, no power, save 
that of the people themselves, is able to fill it. If a vacancy happens in the Senate, 
the Governor of a State may appoint a successor till the Legislature meets, but 
if it occur " in the representation of any State " the Constitution simply declares 
that the executive authority of such State " shall issue writs of election to fill 
such vacancy," leaving to the people directly the choice of the Representative. 
It is moreover declared in the Constitution " that all bills for revenue shall 
originate in the House of Representatives," thus giving again to popular control 
the power of the " purse," which is superior to the power of the " sword," as 
without, the sword has " neither force nor edge." Talk, sir, as the gentleman 
from- Thomaston has, for so many hours, about the war power being lodged 
exclusively in the President ! Why such an assertion is the acme of nonsense. 
Without the assent of Congress there can be no war, and Congress can stop 
the war at any moment it chooses. Without the assent of Congress, and the 



90 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

supply of money by Congress, your quartermaster can give you no transportation ; 
your commissary cannot issue a ration; your chief of ordnance cannot furnish 
a cartridge ; your paymaster cannot give a private a single month's wages. As 
the House of Commons, sir, in England controls the aristocratic Chamber of Lords, 
and holds in check the power of the throne, by having the exclusive right to 
originate " supply bills," so, sir, our House of Representatives, through the 
right to originate bills of revenue, causes the fresh and vigorous voice of the 
people to be heard against the long-tenured power of Senators and the individual 
wishes of the Executive. And in attempting to strip the Representative branch 
of this, its rightful prerogative, and the thousand incidental powers derived from 
it, and through it, the gentleman from Thomaston has aimed to curtail the 
power of the people, and to give to the whims and preferences it may be, of a 
single man, what was intended to be, and must of right continue to be, for the 
arbitrament and deliberate decision of the people of the entire nation. 

In all that I am thus maintaining in regard to the supreme war power of 
Congress, I make no conflict between that and the Executive power, which in 
war, as well as in all matters of civil administration, belongs to the President. 
The question at issue between the gentleman from Thomaston and myself is 
not whether the President has power of great magnitude in the conduct of a war, 
for that I readily admit, or rather I stoutly affirm ; but the point at issue is, 
which is superior in authority, Congress or the President ? I think I have 
shown that the Constitution vests the supreme unlimited power in Congress, 
and that the President must obey the direction of Congress, as the chief execu- 
tive officer of the nation, and at the same time he must be held accountable for 
the mode in which his subordinate officers execute the trusts confided to them. 
There can be no confusion of ideas as to the proper metes and bounds of 
. this authority, and I am quite sure that this war will progress to a successful 
conclusion, without the conflict of authority under discussion being even once 
practically developed. I need say no more on this point than simply to introduce 
an illustration of how the power of Congress is felt in prescribing rules " for 
the government of the land and naval forces." Until quite recent^- many of 
the commanding generals have been in the habit of returning fugitive slaves 
that sought refuge in their camps. Congress considering such a practice to be 
a scandal on our civilization, has just directed that it shall cease, and the 
President, as the executive officer of the nation, is charged with the enforcement 
of the will of Congress in the premises. With that conclusive example of the 
exercise of congressional power, which I have been discussing, I leave this 
branch of the subject. 

Mr. Chairman, upon an analysis of the different positions held by the gentleman 
from Thomaston and myself, on the various questions suggested by the resolves 
under discussion, I find that after proper elimination the points at issue may 
fairly be reduced to two. The first, as to wherein the war power of the Govern- 
ment is lodged, has been examined, and I have attempted to demonstrate that 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 91 

the Constitution vests it in Congress. I shall have more to say on this topic 
as I progress in my remarks. The other point at issue has reference to the 
relations that now exist between the Government of the United States and the 
so-called Confederate States. 

Of course this position does not imply that the only rights we have against 
these rebels are those of belligerence or war; nor does it exclude us from assert- 
ing the higher rights of sovereignty whenever they can be made effective. By 
no means. Even the sweeping quotation I have made from Vattel is restricted 
by the same writer, in a clause immediately following, to the time during which 
the war continues. That celebrated author is careful to state, and I quote his 
exact language, that the sovereign authority " having conquered the opposite party 
and reduced it to sue for peace, may except from the amnesty the authors of the 
trouble and the heads of the party ; may bring them to a legal trial, and on 
conviction punish them. So that by the law of nations and the law of common 
sense, we have as against the rebels the rights both of belligerence and sover- 
eignty the latter class of rights being incapable of enforcement at present, and 
so remaining until they are vindicated and re-established through the rights and 
powers of belligerence. In addition to the authority of Vattel, which I have 
quoted, I am glad to be able to refer to a very recent opinion from one of the 
most eminent constitutional lawyers in New England in support of my position. 
I refer to a decision of Judge Sprague in a recent prize case of the United 
States District Court in Boston. That eminent jurist laid it down as an indis- 
putable doctrine of law, that to-day we have as against the so-called Confeder- 
ate States all the rights of belligerence and sovereignty, too thus sustaining not 
only in effect, but in- precision of language, the principles I have quoted from 
Vattel ; and which I have labored to establish as essential to sound views and 
conclusions on the important subject under discussion. 

And here, sir, in pursuance of the principles I have enunciated, I lay 
down the proposition as broadly as my language can express it, that every power 
and prerogative which the Federal Government would rightfully possess in war, 
as against England, France, Brazil, Mexico, or any other foreign power, it does 
this day possess as against the so-called Confederate States. And I challenge 
any gentleman successfully to refute that proposition ! But the moment these 
war powers are carried to the destruction or forfeiture of the property of a rebel, 
the gentleman from Thomaston cries out that the Constitution of the United 
States is violated in the section where Congress is prohibited forfeiting property 
" except during the life of the person attainted " of treason. 

I tell the gentleman, that the operation of that clause of the Constitution 
is one governing the civil tribunals of the land, where courts are in session, juries 
empaneled, precepts served, and the process of law unobstructed. If he contends 
that it is applicable to a condition of things wherein the civil power of the 
Government has ceased to be operative in eleven States he must contend by 



92 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



parity of reasoning that every other provision of the Constitution is equally 
operative, and that the state of belligei-ence does not supervene with its own 
well-defined and self-protective laws. If he takes this ground, and there is none 
other left him, I ask him, and I want an answer, whence is derived the power 
to blockade the ports of the rebel States ? 

The Constitution of the United States says expressly that " no preference 
shall be given to the ports of one State over those of another." And yet 
directly in the face of this inhibition, a blockade of the most rigorous character 
has been instituted by which Charleston, Savannah, New Orleans, and all other 
Southern ports are cut off from all commerce, while New York, Boston, Port- 
land, and all other loyal ports are left in the free and unrestricted enjoyment 





MONITOR AND BLOCKADE RUNNER. 



of trade. Whence is the power derived to do this? The gentleman does not 
answer. Is it an unconstitutional act because in apparent conflict with the letter 
of one section of that instrument? How can the gentleman justify the act, 
other than by war power of the Government blockading the ports of the 
so-called Confederate States, just as we did the ports of Mexico when at war with 
that Power? 



There was one error, Mr. Chairman, which seems to haunt the gentleman 
very persistently throughout the entire thread of his argument and that was, 
the alleged impossibility of bringing the war power to bear against the rebels 
without first conceding that they had actually carried their States out of the 
Union. He stated many times that if the rebel States are integral members 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 93 

of the Union, the contest with the rebels themselves cannot be carried on as a 
war, and that conversely to concede that it is war, is to concede that the States 
have actually seceded and set up a separate power. No statement could be 
more absurdly fallacious or amusingly ridicilous, as the gentleman himself 
will see by the most casual recurrence to fundamental principles. The State 
cannot be compromised or destroyed by the wrongful acts of never so large a major- 
ity of its people. The wrongdoers, by the very force of their numbers, may and 
do acquire certain immunities against individual punishment as I have already 
shown, but they do not acquire the right to change the relations of the State. 
I maintain as stoutly as he does, that Virginia and Tennessee, and all the rest 
of the eleven, are to-day States in the Union, and that the Constitution and 
laws of the nation are operative within their borders. A rebellious force, 
however, having risen to such strength as to thwart the civil power and prevent 
the actual operation of the laws, it is the duty of the nation through the war 
power to vindicate its authority, so that a Constitution which is operative may 
be made actually operating, and that laws which are /';/ force may be really 
enforced. The gentleman's laborious effort, therefore, to demolish the theory of 
Senator Sumner in regard to the suicide of the rebel States has no pertinency 
whatever in this discussion. All the positions I have assumed, and all the 
arguments I have made use of to sustain these positions, have expressly negatived 
the theory of Mr. Sumner, and therefore I am not called upon to notice it further. 
I have merely to say in leaving this topic that the argument which maintains 
that the States would have to be out of the Union, before a contest with their 
rebellious inhabitants could be conducted as a civil war, is nothing short of an 
Irish bull of the most grotesque description. If the States are not members of 
the Union they are a foreign power, and of course a contest with their people 
could not be a civil war. The very essence of a civil war consists in its being 
a strife between members properly subject to the same sovereign authority. 
And the dilemma herein suggested, ridiculous if not contemptible, is the same 
which has driven the gentleman to deny, as he has done, that this contest is 
either a " foreign war " or a " civil war." He had to manufacture a new kind 
of war " domestic " he styled it in order, as he hoped, to escape the abs,urd 
conclusions which some of his propositions led to. The gentleman setting out 
with radically erroneous premises could do nothing else than wander away from 
the landmarks of truth and sound logic and there he continues to wander " in 
endless mazes lost." 

I have now, sir, at somewhat greater length than I designed when I rose, 
discussed the question of constitutional power, so far as it is brought into issue 
by the pending resolves. I have endeavored to establish as essential to the 
maintenance of my position two propositions : First, that the war power of this 
Government is lodged in Congress ; and 'second, that under every principle and 
every precedent of international law the Government of the United States, while 
sovereign over all, has, so long as the rebellion endures, all the rights of war 



94 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

against those who in armed force are seeking the life of the nation. If I have 
established these propositions, I have demonstrated the amplest power to adopt 
the measures proposed in the resolves before us. If we have these powers we 
may do with and towards the rebels of the Confederate States, so-called, precise^ 
as we would and did towards Mexico ; and I have given the authority of 
Hamilton, and Kent, and Webster, and John Quincy Adams, and President 
Lincoln, to show that the specific line of policy as regards the property of the 
enemy is to be dictated by Congress. With this brief summary I proceed to 
discuss the second branch of my subject, which has reference to the expediency 
of adopting the resolves before us. 

The first resolve, endorsing the administration in general terms, is, I believe, 
not objected to in any quarter, and is not in dispute between the gentleman 
from Thomaston and myself. The only objection I have to it, is that it is cold, 
and stiff and formal, whereas to reflect my feelings it should be warm and cordial 
and unreserved. I am for the administration through and through being an 
early and unflinching believer in the ability, the honesty and patriotism of 
Abraham Lincoln, I did in my humble sphere, both with pen and tongue, all I 
could to promote his election ; and while I was thus engaged the gentleman 
was denouncing him as a Black Republican and an Abolitionist and a Dis- 
unionist." 

We have not space here to make more than a fragmentary presentation of 
this speech of Blaine's in the State Legislature. It is inserted to show the spirit 
and manner of the man at the time of his first impact on national opinion. We 
may note, in his speech, almost every quality of the mind and manner of the 
man in his future larger growth. There is the same spirit and verve ; the same 
style of intellectual attack and parry ; the same vigor of personality ; the same 
cogent and persistent argumentation from beginning to end. Blaine was, long 
before the attainment of his thirtieth year, an able and severe debater against 
whom the enemy must be wary or suffer a thrust. 

We here pause to note only one or two additional circumstances in the 
first period of the life and career of Blaine at Augusta. It is clear in the 
retrospect that he was a rising man. He was easily and consecutively re-elected 
to the Legislature and to the speakership. His support was enthusiastic and 
faithful. In 1869 he was appointed prison commissioner for the State of Maine. 
While holding that office he developed remarkable capacity for the discharge of 
its duties. Perhaps no other incumbent of the office ever performed the services 
connected therewith more energetically, rationally, successfully. It was always 
his manner to study well the thing in hand. His power of investigation was 
very great. He is hardly on record anywhere as having spoken rashly on a 
subject with which he was unacquainted. He had almost Garfield's faculty for 
details and statistics. While prison commissioner he investigated the condition 
of the State Institution and many of the minor prisons, producing as the result 
of his study and observations a report with recommendations and statistical tables 



96 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



much valued as an authority to the present time. He also received the ap- 
pointment of State Printer, and discharged the duties of that office with signal 
success. He became familiar with all the details of printing and publication 
to such a degree that in after life he always knew the facts and methods in 
the great printing establishments of the Government. 

As to Blaine's Republicanism, that became more and more intense. While he 
had not been an original supporter of Fremont, he was an original Lincoln man. 
It is evident that his imagination and judgment were fairly conquered by the Lin- 
colnian debates with Douglas. Those debates became a sort of text and final appeal 
for a great part of the political controversy which followed, as they were the key 
to the principles out of which the current history of our country was deduced. 
In 1S60, Blaine went as a delegate to the Republican National Convention at 

Chicago and there 
worked assiduously 
for the nomination 
of Lincoln. The 
Maine delegation had 
been virtually in- 
structed for Seward. 
There was, however, a 
strong Lincoln senti- 
ment among the dele- 
gates, and of this 
Blaine became the 
mouth-piece and ex- 
ponent. When it 
came to the balloting 
the delegation was di- 
vided between Seward 
and Lincoln, and 
Blaine succeeded in casting the votes of his adherents for the successful candi- 
date. It is claimed, indeed, that his persistency in this particular was one of 
the factors which finally determined the defeat of Seward and the nomination 
of Lincoln. 

From this time forth the life of" Blaine merges rapidly into the history of 
the country. He took an active part in the quadrangular presidential contest 
of i860, and hailed with enthusiasm the election of his favorite. After that 
event, all things went with a whirl down into the gorge of war ; out went 
Carolina and out went all the rest, singly or by twos or threes, until the work 
of secession was accomplished, Sumter was fatally struck in the side ; the flag 
of the nation was insulted and dragged down ; the heart of the North was 
inflamed to battle-pitch ; the armies began to rise, and the clash of arms was soon 
heard beyond the Potomac. 




ATTACK ON FORT SUMTER. 



98 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

It would appear that Blaine ought to have had an earlier start by at least 
a year at the National Capital. Circumstances, however, hedged his way for a 
brief period and it was not until 1862 that he was able to show himself in the 
arena. In that year Anson P. Morrill, Representative of the Augusta district 
in the House of Representatives, voluntarily declined a re-election. An oppor- 
tunity was offered for the popular favorite to compete for congressional honors. 
The competition, however, was quite one-sided. The public voice was for Blaine. 
Everything went with a whirl in his favor. He was nominated as if by 
common consent and in October of 1S62 was elected Representative of his adopted 
district by a majority of three thousand votes. He stood at that time for nearly 
every principle to which the people of Maine were devoted, and his election, at 
the age of thirty-two, came as the natural result of antecedent conditions. 

We may well suppose that the period of nearly a twelve-month, between 
the date of his election and his taking his seat in Congress, was to Blaine a 
time of restlessness and anxiety. Nevertheless, the delay was advantageous. 
Events began to declare themselves. That which had been chaotic and almost 
desperate at the start cleared a little, and the outline of new continents was 
seen here and there. From October of 1862 to December of 1863, many things 
were revealed which had hitherto been obscure or wholly unperceived. The 
first strokes of the war had been against the national cause. But with 
September of '62 the charge of the Confederacy was arrested at Antietam. Not, 
however, until the following year, in mid-summer, at Vicksburg and Gettysburg, 
were the first staggering blows dealt by the Union arm on the great insurrection. 
After that, events tended ever to the inevitable conclusion. 

In like manner the intervening period (1862-63) was decisive of much on 
the civil and political side. Now it was that the great question of emancipation 
came to a crisis and found its solution in the brain and heart of Lincoln. 
Before Blaine took his seat in Congress, namely, on the seventh of December, 
1863, African slavery in the United States had virtually ceased to exist. But the 
deed of freedom was still new. All of its issues and results were of the future. 
Perhaps not one of the rising young statesmen of that day availed himself 
more completely of the opportunity of study and watchfulness than did Blaine 
in the period preceding his first sitting in the House of Representatives. At 
length the time arrived, and he removed from Augusta where he had now resided 
for nine years. Henceforth he must be judged by the standards of adult 
manhood and by the measure of accomplishment. We have followed his personal 
career along the ordinary avenues of life until finally he emerges into the 
unusual. Whether the unusual shall become the extraordinary, and the extra- 
ordinary become the great, remains to be developed in the sequel. 



CHAPTER III. 



LIFE IN CONGRESS FIRST PERIOD. 

[HE entrance of a Representative into the Congress of 
the United States must needs mark an epoch in his 
life. It is an event calculated to make a deep im- 
pression on the mind of a man, particularly if he be 
young. Such an elevation to place is regarded in 
our country as a badge of honor not easily won and 
to be lost with the greatest regret. It cannot be 
doubted that a life in Washington is full of excite- 
ment, ambition, pleasure. Many men it stimulates 
to extraordinary exertion and many it destroys. It were 
vain to try to estimate the blasted ambitions that have been 
blown into nothing like withered leaves around the capital. 
It were equally vain to imagine the projects, schemes and 
aspirations that have found there partial or complete fulfill- 
ment. 

On the seventh of December, 1863, the thirty-eighth 
Congress assembled and began its work. There appeared on 
that day, in the hall of the House of Representatives, a 
number of men destined to distinction, and the most of them 
were young. Several aspirants were still inside of thirty-five. 
Among those Representatives who were already prominent in 
public affairs were George S. Boutwell, the two Washburnes, 
Henry L,. Dawes, William D. Kelley, Samuel S. Cox, William S. Holman, 
Daniel W. Voorhees and others. Of the 3^oung men now first appearing on 
the scene were William B. Allison, of Iowa ; William Windom, of Minnesota ; 
George H. Pendleton, of Ohio ; Samuel J. Randall, of Pennsylvania, and James 
A. Garfield, of Ohio. It was in this group that the young Representative 
from the Kennebec district of Maine arose and stood. He was in his thirty- 
fourth year. He was of full stature and of really noble proportion. His 
manners were easy and his self-possession remarkable. His head was covered 
with a mass of reddish dark hair. He wore a beard full, but neatly trimmed, 
of the same color. His face was open and expressive. Of all his features his 
eyes were the most attractive and magnetic. They were large, dark, lustrous 
and turned in this direction and in that. His presence was of a kind to 
make him a man of note in any audience of the world. 

(99) 




100 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

It is narrated that Samuel S. Cox, known everywhere by his sobriquet of 
" Sunset," was one of the first to measure the new statesman, or, as we 
should say, to size him up. Greatly impressed with his appearance, he spoke 
to Samuel J. Randall, of Pennsylvania, and inquired who the new-comer might 
be. Randall replied : " His name is Blaiue ; he is a native of my own 
State ; was born near the town of Washington ; was educated in the college 
there, and I afterwards met him iu Philadelphia, where he was a teacher. I 
have heard of him in Maine, where he is regarded as a man of great promise 
and much political ability." The same kind of remark was made among 
Blaine's colleagues, many of whom looked upon him with admiration, while 
some from the first regarded him with jealousy. 

It is not possible, at this distance, to know how Blaine regarded himself. 
It is said that the world takes a man at his own estimate, though this is 
doubtful. If we mistake not, Blaine had always a high opinion of his own 
capacities and of his rightful place in the political rank. No doubt he 
thought that the rightful place was the first place. But he was, withal, a 
man of modesty. Whatever egotism he possessed was generally veiled under 
a disguise of modest demeanor and was at the same time accented with his 
natural diffidence. We are now to follow him in the House of Representatives, 
from his entrance into that body until his election to the speakership. This 
will constitute the first passage in his congressional career. 

A man in Congress is rarely conspicuous at first. He must accept his 
place at the foot of the class. He may rise, but if so, he must do it by merit 
and demonstration. The new member is generally attached to the committees 
in a subordinate relation. He has to content himself with following the 
leadership of his seniors seniors in experience and possibly in ability. When 
Blaine entered Congress the speakership rested with Schuyler Colfax, of 
Indiana. Under his appointment the young statesman from Maine was given a 
place on the Committee on Military Affairs and also on the Committee on Post 
Offices. The former position, considering that the war was now in its climax, 
was one of great responsibility. In that committee the important military legis- 
lation of the times must originate. Such measures, however, were generally 
devised by the chairman of the committee and by him submitted to his col- 
leagues for discussion and final form. It was in these relations that Blaine 
met his first practical duties in the Congress of the United States. 

It is of record that such work as fell to him in his first session was, from 
the very beginning, done with a care and thoroughness which very soon 
attracted the attention and praise of his colleagues. There was much in this 
regard in common with Blaine and Garfield. They both had the habit of 
exhaustive work. They were willing to undergo the study and investigation 
requisite for knowing, not only the outlines, but the very elements of every 
question which came before them, for consideration. If we mistake not, it is in 
this regard that the educated and informed man has his superiority over the 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 101 

uneducated and the uninformed. The latter, when confronted with the question, 
is obliged to consider it in the light of such limited information as he may 
possess, aided by the torch of his own understanding. But the like question, 
going into the hands of one who is both scholar and statesman, is at once 
illumined by all the resources of his information and they are nian}'. His 
habit, moreover, formed from boyhood of study and patient investigation, will 
lead him to go down to the fundamentals of the question and solve it much as 
the student solves his problem in algebra. 

Blaine had this habit. It possessed him as thoroughly as it possessed 
Garfield. He very soon gained the reputation in the House of being a well- 
informed man. The members began to approach him for information and 
judgment on questions that were too remote or profound for their own knowledge. 
Hardly ever was Blaine approached in this manner that he did not respond 
with readiness and lucidity to the interrogator, and in proportion as he did so, 
his reputation as an authority on man}' subjects was enhanced. 

As to public speech in the House, he was chary of utterance. He spoke 
little at first, or not at all. He took care, in his initial passages, to measure 
what he said with his old-time editorial accuracy. The result was that the 
record of his remarks always showed up well for the speaker. He appears to 
have been unusually careful of what he said, particularly if it was to become 
of record. As a record maker, few have surpassed him. When his words came 
to print they were, if not positively unassailable, at least assailable only from 
those points of attack which the speaker had foreseen and at which he was ready 
to stand in defence. In short, Blaine was not the man to make mistakes. 

Behind him lay his experience in the Legislature of Maine. In that smaller 
arena he had been the presiding officer. In such relation he had become a quick 
and careful parliamentarian. Before the close of his first term of service in the 
House of Representatives he was able to follow the course of business and to 
watch the Speaker's rulings with the astuteness of a veteran. His motions were 
always in order. His objections were not to be lightly put aside and his points 
of order almost invariably stuck. 

It is needless to remark here upon the vastness of the questions that were 
now at the fore in the House of Representatives. It was indeed a stormy epoch. 
The war-blasts swept over and under. The nation quaked with the earth-shock 
and the clouds of battle were blown half-way across the continent. Fields were 
stained with crimson from the Rappahannock and Hatteras to Yazoo and the 
Ozark Mountains. Besides the battle-storm, all the concomitant questions of 
war arose, and must be answered. There was the financial question in all of 
its prodigious extent and ramifications. How should the expenses of the war be 
met ? How should the portentous debt be handled ? How should the national 
credit be maintained ? How should the treasury be replenished ? How should 
the soldiers be paid and fed ? What kind of financial institutions should be 
planted in place of the old banking concerns which had flourished before the 



102 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

war ? What kind of money should the people have withal when gold and silver 
had stolen their sneaking march to foreign lands and into the boxes of Shylocks ? 

All of these questions and problems most practical and pressing must be 
boldly met by Congress. They must be met, not by precedent and experience, 
but in the absence of both. Among the many who set themselves to the patient 
investigation of the issues of the war, none was more industrious or thorough 
than James E. Blaine. Meanwhile, before the close of his term, he began to 
speak freely and successfully on the floor of the House. Already the premoni- 
tions of the great contest of future years on free trade and protection might be 
seen and felt. The Government had been virtually obliged to resort to high 
protective schedules, in order to replenish the exhausted treasury. These schedules 
were prepared with a view to furnishing a revenue, but they acted from the 
start as a measure of protection to certain industries. 

Those industries belonged rather to the older than to the newer States of 
the Union. It was alleged that New England was in particular favored by the 
results of the tariff laws. This state of affairs soon excited the jealousy of the 
producing West, and the politicians of the West, especially those of the Democratic 
minority, were quick to seize the occasion as an argumentum ad prejudiciam 
and to turn it against the dominant party. In June of 1864, the astute and 
aggressive Samuel S. Cox, of Ohio, attacked the tariff law and made a plausible 
and effective speech, in which he contrasted the results of that law in their 
effects upon the industries of New England and those of the West, particularly 
those of his own State. 

The manner and matter of this speech were well calculated to excite Blaine 
and to bring the best qualities of his mind into action. He replied to the 
Representative from Ohio in an able speech, one of his first formal products in 
the House. It was in the nature of audacity that the young member from Maine 
should measure swords with the experienced Cox, who was, as the world knows, 
a wit as well as a statesman a man as dangerous in the handling as Benjamin 
F. Butler himself. That Blaine, at the age of thirty-four and serving his first 
term, had the courage to enter the list against him and the ability to stand 
with credit in the contest must be set down to the praise of his ability and 
daring. 

From this time forth encounters of the kind just referred to became the 
incidents of Blaine's congressional life. He was quick to whip out his sword, 
and the provocation was nearly always of a nature to be discussed by the people. 
There was in this an element of leadership. It was admirable politics on 
Blaine's part to strike only when the blow would be effective. We have not 
here space to recite much of his congressional history, and it is not in accordance 
with our plan to quote at length from his speeches and debates. That work 
we shall perform in another part of this volume. 

In a general way, we may note the progress of political events. Blaine 
went into Congress at the middle of Lincoln's administration. That adminis- 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



103 



tration fared on through storm and tempest and trial of opposition and buffeting 
to emerge in triumph from the presidential struggle of 1864. Against Lincoln 
and his methods not to say against the war itself the Democracy was exceedingly 
mad. That party had been reduced to a minimum, but not extinguished. It 
has been a hard party to destroy. Even in the midst of the war it revived like a 
battered pugilist and held up its fists grimly for the round of 1S64. It declared 
that the war had proved a failure ; that there should be an armistice ; that 
negotiations should begin with the Southern insurgents already beaten almost 
to the earth ; that the resources of statesmanship must now be exhausted in 
the effort to restore peace by 
a method other than vi et 
armis. As the representative 
of these sentiments the De- 
mocracy put up the popular 
ex-General of the Union 
armies, George B. McClellan, 
thus paradoxically associating 
or attempting to associate mili- 
tary heroism with the spirit 
of anti-war. The banner 
which they put up had two 
coats of arms, one of which 
was an escutcheon filled with 
a symbolism which loyal men 
at the North were said not 
to understand, and the other 
of which was a war shield 
blazoned with victory and 
arms. The two did not con- 
sist ! Nevertheless, the ban- 
ner was lifted up against Lin- 
coln and the world was able 
to read an in hoc signo vinces, 
in which the " hoc' 1 '' was very gen. geo. b. mcclei-lan. 

difficult to determine. The "hoc" seemed to have two sides to it, one of 
which read " Victory "over Disunion and Dismemberment," and the other 
of which read, " Surrender and Lie Down ! " 

Such ambiguity was not pleasing to the American people. Lincoln was 
triumphantly re-elected. Coincidently with this, Blaine was chosen for his second 
term in the 'House. His work in that body had been heartily approved by the 
people of his district and there was little opposition to his re-election. We may here 
insert, as exemplifying his thought and manner at this epoch, the letter in which 
he accepted his re-nomination for membership in the Thirty-ninth Congress : 




104 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

n T Augusta, August 20, 1864. 

General J. R. Bachelder : & t 

Dear Sir : I am in receipt of your favor formally advising me that on 
the tenth instant, the Union Convention of the Third District unanimously 
nominated me for re-election as Representative in Congress. For this generous 
action, as well as for the cordial manner attending it, and the very compli- 
mentary phrase in which it is conveyed, I am under profound obligations. It 
is far easier for me to find the inspiring cause of such favor and such 
unanimity in the personal partiality of friends, than in any merits or services 
which I may justly claim as my own. 

In nominating me as the Union candidate, and pledging me to no other 
platform, 3^ou place me on the precise ground I desire to occupy. The controlling 
and absorbing issue before the American people is whether the Federal Union shall 
be saved or lost. In comparison with that, all other issues and controversies 
are subordinate, and entitled to consideration just in the degree that they may 
influence the end which Washington declared to be " the primary object of 
patriotic desire." To maintain the Union a gigantic war has been carried on, 
now in the fourth year of its duration, and the resources of the country, both in 
men and money, have been freely expended in support of it. The war was not a 
matter of choice with the Government, unless it was prepared to surrender its 
power over one-half of its territory and incur all the hazards of anarchy throughout 
the other half. It was begun by those who sought to overthrow the Federal 
authority. It should be ended the very day that authority is recognized and 
re-established throughout its rightful domain. 

The desire for peace after the sufferings and trials of the past three years 
is natural. Springing from the very instincts of humanity, it is irrepressible. 
The danger to be avoided is that in aiming to attain peace we shall be deceived 
by the shadow and thus fail to secure the substance. Peace on the basis of 
disunion is a dehision. It is no peace at all. It is but the beginning of war 
more wasteful, more destructive, more cruel than we have thus far experienced. 
Those who cry for the "immediate cessation of the war " are the best advocates 
of its endless continuance. They mean peace by the recognition of rebel inde- 
pendence, and rebel independence is absolutely incompatible with peace. 

Among the cherished errors of those who are willing to acknowledge the 
Southern Confederacy as the basis of peace, the most fatal is that which assumes 
the continued union, harmony and power of the loyal States. This cannot 
be. Contentions and strifes without number would at once spring up. 
The border States would be convulsed with fierce contest as to which 
section they would adhere to. The Pacific slope, to escape the dangers and 
constant embroilments which it could neither control nor avoid, would naturally 
seek for independence; and the Northwest, if it did not follow the example, 
would demand such a reconstruction of the government of the remaining States 
as would make our further connection therewith undesirable if not absolutely 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 105 

intolerable. In short disunion upon the line of the revolted States would involve 
the total and speedy disintegration of the Federal Government, and we would 
find ourselves launched on " a sea of troubles," with no pilot capable of holding 
the helm, and no chart to guide us on our perilous voyage. 

There is indeed but one path of safety, and that is likewise the path of 
honor and of interest. JVc must preserve the Union. Differ as we may as to 
the measures necessary to that end, there shall be no difference among loyal 
men as to the end itself. No sacrifice we can make in our efforts to save the 
Union is comparable with that we should all make in losing it. He is the 
enemy to both sections and to the common cause of humanity and civilization who 
is willing to conclude the war by surrendering the Union ; and the most alarm- 
ing development of the times is the disposition manifested by leading journals, 
by public men and b\- political conventions in the loyal States to accept this 
conclusion. For niyself, in the limited sphere of my influence I shall never 
consent to such a delusive settlement of our troubles. Neither at the polls as 
an American citizen, nor in Congress as a Representative (should I again be 
chosen), will I ever give a vote admitting even the possibility of ultimate failure 
in this great struggle for nationality. 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

J. G. Blaine. 

The election of Blaine for a second term went on almost by consent. His 
majority was very large and with the opening of the first session of the Thirty- 
ninth Congress, he took his place with eclat. His committee work was virtually 
the same as in the preceding session. He was retained on the Committee on 
Military Affairs, but still as a subordinate member. Perhaps it was not \ery 
just' to withhold from him some important chairmanship. However this may be, 
he now began to rise rapidly to the attention of the House and presently of 
the whole country. It was in the Thirty-ninth Congress that he entered the 
ascendant and began to assert himself as one of the leaders of his party. 

The day of Appomatox had now passed. The iron-hearted Lee had given 
his sword to the silent man of Galena. The Confederacy was down hope- 
lessly down ; and the question of restoration took the place of the question 
of salvation and repression. The reader, if he have well perused the history 
of these times, knows how issues of the greatest moment rushed in and banked 
themselves against the Government and people of the United States. One of 
the leading questions which arose at the very start was that of the new basis 
of representation. The inequity of the old basis had become manifest along 
with much else of that constitutional system, which had prevailed under the 
compromises made by the fathers. The old South had had representation for 
its slaves. Now, slavery was swept away. The Dred Scott decision had been 
blown by battle blast into the limbo next the moon. The negro had become 
first a man and then a citizen. Perhaps, after the lapse of a half-century, he 
will become a brother also ! Certainly the old basis of representation can stand 




JMil'iii in mi J 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 107 

no longer. We must have a new. Not only three-fifths of the negro but 
ySW-fifths of him shall be counted, and, horrible dictum ! he shall be counted in 
his own interest and represent himself. 

This shall be not effected, however, without great opposition. The Old Order 
will muster itself against it. But the progressive and aggressive leaders of the 
dominant party will favor justice and right and will fight for it, even to the 
extent of declaring that a man may be a man, aye, shall be a man ! his black 
skin to the contrary notwithstanding. Among those who took ground advanced 
and still ever more advanced on this subject was Blaine. He planted himself 
in favor of a new basis of representation in Congress, in which the old feudal 
element should be struck out and a new principle of representation, according 
to the number of voters, should be substituted therefor. This question gave him 
much concern and he delivered, in favor of his views, one of his great speeches 
in the House. 

Now it was, namely, near the beginning of Blaine's second term in Congress 
and just as his elements of great leadership began to appear just as he himself 
came to discover in himself the powers and capacities which he possessed to 
fascinate, control and dominate his party that, in corresponding measure, 
remarkable personal antagonisms appeared as the incidence of his political life. 
These began as the result of debates, which came naturally in the line of his 
duties ; but they ramified and acquired an independent character. Blaine was 
a member of the Committee on Ways and Means, of which Thaddeus Stevens 
was chairman, and was also a member of the special Committee of Fifteen, 
which had been appointed to consider the whole question of reconstruction. 
Out of these relations Blaine, with his ceaseless activity, became more and more 
prominent in the House, and from this time forth his personal battles, some of 
which were with the Democratic leaders and others with the leaders of his own 
party, became not only frequent but spectacular. 

We may here consider for a moment the political complexion of affairs at 
that time. The Republican party had already begun to run the course of all 
parties soever. This is to say, that two or three elements had appeared in it 
which were no longer in accord. The reader knows how ten years later these 
two elements, under the organic catch-words of Half-breed and Stalwart, came 
near rending the party asunder by the violence of a factional fight. In general, 
it may be said, that the stalwart principle included the element of the party 
which believed in doing things by means of party organization and by the 
fidelity of friend to friend and loyalty to the party named. The other division 
held these things more loosely ; we might sa}' held them more rationally and 
with less tenacity. Up to the year 1865, the real leadership of the Republicans 
in the House of Representatives had belonged to Henry Winter Davis, of 
Maryland. Davis was an orator, above ieproach, and really a great man. After 
his death his position as spokesman of his party in the House must go to 
I somebody, and the question was whom ? 



108 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



James A. Garfield, of Ohio, was not unwilling to have the capacious 
mantle of the Marylander. Blaine, of Maine, would wear that garment if he 
might possess it. Roscoe Conkling believed himself the inheritor of the place 
made vacant by the death of Davis. Garfield and Blaine had come into the 
House together. Conkling had already served two terms before either of the 
others had arisen. He had, however, been beaten for re-election in 1S62, at 
the very time when Garfield and Blaine had been successful. Conkling had 
returned for a third term in 1865. That magnificent personage was in the 
heyday of his power and ambition. As a matter of fact he was, at that 
juncture, the strongest of the three. He had more pose and solidity. In 
attainments, though he had not had the advantages enjoyed by both the 
others, he was their equal. In the power of managing his intellectual resources 
and of making deliberate battle, he was their equal or more than their 
equal, though his onset was not as spirited as that of Blaine. In great 
ambitions he had as much as either. 

We are here to note one of the most remark- 
able antagonisms in the political history of the 
United States. It was destined to be life-long. With 
one of the contestants it lasted for twenty-one years ; 
with the other it lasted for the same period, and 
then lasted six years longer ; it was ineradicable. It 
cost both of the parties dearly. It is not improbable 
that it prevented one of them and possibly both of 
them from sitting in the presidency of the United 
States. It was not wise ; it was not expedient ; it 
was a thing necessary only in consideration of the 
temper and spirit of the two men. Neither of them 
could brook the ascendancy of the other. Each 
fallaciously believed that the ascendancy of the other 
would be fatal to his own ambitions. Neither was 
disposed by nature or habit to that compromise and 
conciliation which, while it may be very disagreeable 
to those engaging thereto, is nevertheless, expedient in the last degree. 

Only an occasion was wanting for a break and battle between Roscoe 
Conkling and James G. Blaine. Garfield was more politic than either ; though 
on the whole he was not as strong a man as either. But he could repress him- 
self and abide his time. He was more alert for the enemy, and less likely to 
have an altercation in the household of his friends. 

It was in April of 1866 that the personal relations of Blaine and 
Conkling were broken forever. The affair occurred in the House of Representa- 
tives. A debate was on, relative to some comparatively insignificant matter 
connected with the office of Provost-Marshal General Fry. Conkling had been 
indulging in some strictures, which crossed the views of Blaine and which drew 




ROSCOE CONKLING. 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 109 

from him a reply as sharp in substance as it was excited in manner. When 
the Congressional Record of the next day appeared, their report of the debate 
seemed to leave Blaine at a disadvantage. He thereupon renewed the attack in 
the House, and rather exceeded the bounds of prudence by saying something 
about the motives of Colliding in the matter of General Fry. 

Conkling came back at his antagonist, and ended by charging him with 
"frivolous impertinence.'" 

After not many days, the battle was renewed by Blaine, who, instead of 
speaking of his antagonist as the gentleman from New York, called him " the 
member from the Utica district." This seemed to minify the magnificent 
Conkling. He replied in that sarcastic, cool, and effective manner, for which 
he was pre-eminent and again put his brilliant antagonist at a disadvantage. 
But meanwhile, Blaine, who was the superior parliamentarian, managed the 
matter so that under the rules he should have the last shot. He availed him- 
self of that privilege in a way so memorable that the incident has become a 
part of political history. In his final reply up to a certain point, he seemed 
to be hardly a match for the tremendous and sarcastic Conkling. But his spirit 
gained in heat and vivacity we might almost say in audacious recklessness 
what he lacked in the cool thrust and argumentative sarcasm of his rival. 
Perhaps the story of what ensued may be best delivered by quoting the remain- 
der of the incident from "The Three Decades" of Samuel S. Cox. That 
author, who was a witness of the scene, says : 

" This debate showed Mr. Conkling in his best light of repartee, so far as 
the House was concerned. Several gentlemen interposed to stop, if they could, 
the blows that were given and taken, but Mr. Blaine, who was still in the 
dialectics and rules of the House, got the last word ; and after repaying what he 
called ' the cruel sarcasm ' in which Mr. Conkling was an expert, he hoped that 
he would not be too severe in that mode of handling his innocent self. ' The 
contempt of that large-minded gentleman is so wilting ; his haughty disdain ; 
his grandiloquent swell ; his majestic, super-eminent, over-powering, turkey-gobbler 
strut has been so crushing to myself and all members of this House, that I 
know it was an act of the greatest temerity for me to venture upon a contro- 
versy with him.' 

" Then Mr. Blaine referred to the man whom I suppose to be the most 
eloquent orator I have met in Congress Henry Winter Davis. He referred to 
the 'little jocose satire of Theodore Tilton that the mantle of Davis had fallen 
upon the gentleman from New York,' and that that gentleman had taken it 
seriously, and it had given ' an additional strut to his pomposity.' ' It is 
striking,' said Mr. Blaine, ' Hyperion to a satyr, Thersites to Hercules, mud 
to marble, dunghill to diamond, a singed cat to a Bengal tiger, a whining 
puppy to a roaring lion.' These phrases have never been repeated " continues 
Mr. Cox " in the House with so much vindictive animosity. But the Demo- 
crats enjoyed it. It was not their fight." 



110 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

Roscoe Coukling had much of the Indian in his moral nature : he never 
forgot a kindness or forgave an insult. It was not in the nature of either of 
the men ever to make apologies or overtures. Both in this particular had the 
pride of Lucifer. That Blaine should apologize in such a case or conciliate was 
the height of improbability ; that Conkling should apologize was unthinkable. 
So the feud became deadly and everlasting. Henceforth the two statesmen 
walked each his independent way towards the leadership of his party. Both 
gained the leadership, but not that complete and indisputable leadership which 
was prerequisite to the presidency of the United States. The more prudent 
Garfield held off and gained the \\ Trite House. 

We may here note with propriety and interest the measures in the advo- 
cacy of which Blaine rose to a first rank in his party. He took the position for 
one thing, that the loyal States, by whose fidelity the war for the Union had been 
brought to a successful close, should be reimbursed for their expenditure. This 
was the Hamiltouian project of the Revolutionary sequel revived and applied to 
the greater emergency of 1865. Measures of this sort were introduced into the 
House as early as April of 1S64, and Blaine spoke powerfully in advocacy of 
his bill to reimburse the State of Pennsylvania for her extraordinary outlays 
in the war. Another subject was that presented in a measure for taxing exports 
of the country. Blaine took the ground boldly that that clause of the National 
Constitution, prohibiting the taxation of exports, should be abrogated. On this 
subject he delivered, on the second of March, 1865, a strong and withal popular 
speech. Already the question of the currency and the dollar of the currency was 
uppermost in the public mind, and on this Blaine spoke of them and with 
great satisfaction to his constituency and a majority of the people. 

This money issue was one of the most difficult which the statesman had to 
meet. In handling it he was always in a straight place between two extremes. 
It is the hardship of war that it brings debt upon the country which engages 
in it. In our own case we piled up a debt mountain-wise. The prodigious pile 
reached the clouds. In any old nation there would have remained no hope at 
all of paying it. It would simply have been laid upon posterity as an ever- 
lasting tax. The principal question, however, with Congress and with the people 
of the United States, was how they should measure and manage this debt. Gold 
and silver had disappeared. Paper money prevailed and abounded. The premium 
on coin arose to almost two-hundred per cent. The dollar of the law and the 
contract became a paper dollar which, as measured by the standard of gold, was, 
for a considerable period, worth less than fifty cents. 

But what was the equity of this situation ? One class of statesmen, backed 
up and instigated by the creditor classes, held that the dollar was always the 
gold and silver dollar. Practically this was not so. Theoretically and even 
constitutionally it was probably so. For many years together, the dollar of the 
law and the contract was, to all intents and purposes, a dollar of paper. During 
the same period the modicum of gold and silver remaining in the country 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. Ill 

though it was stamped and branded with the names of coins was really mer- 
chandise. At length the bottom was reached or the top, as the case may be 
and the readjustment became necessary. 

Then came on the warfare between the advocates of the so-called " honest 
dollar " and the paper dollar with which, and on the basis of which, the business 
of the country had been so long transacted. The advocates of high payment 
took the " honest dollar " as their catch-word and, to make a long narrative 
brief, they won with it, and by a series of legislative enactments, entailing the 
greatest hardships on the producing interests of the country, succeeded in 
twisting up, turn by turn, the standard unit in the financial mill, until the so- 
called resumption of specie payment was finally, after fourteen years from 
Appomatox, effected. 

Thus the value of the national debt was augmented from year to year as 
rapidly as it was paid away. As fast as payment was made, the value of the 
dollar in which it was expressed, was increased. To the debtor class, all this 
was the labor of Sysiphus. The toiler laboriously rolled the stone to the top 
of the hill; but ever, when near the crest, it got away with him and returned 
with thunderiug and the roar of bankruptcy to the bottom. To the present day 
the process has been kept up and, notwithstanding the multiplied billions upon 
billions which the American people have paid in principal and interest upon 
that patriotic war-debt, which expressed their devotion and sacrifice, it is the 
truth of history, that the debt itself is, at the present time, worth virtually as 
much to the holders as it was when it reached its nominal maximum iu August 
of 1865. 

In the contention about the dollar, the interests and desires of the creditor 
classes were always in favor of the coin dollar, as they have now become in 
favor of the gold dollar only. The credit of the country was represented mostly 
in the great commercial centres and in the East. The debt of the country was 
represented mostly in the illimitable champaigns of the centre and the West in 
the farms and homes of the great majority of the American people. Iu these 
contentions, Blaine, as a political economist, as a financier, as an Eastern man, 
stood strongly for the resubstitutiou of the coin dollar for the paper dollar. He 
advocated the "honest dollar" as against the dollar of the debt. He spoke on 
this subject with great cogency. In another part of this work we present one 
of his principal speeches on this theme, in which he elaborates his views on 
the standard of money and account. 

We remark also that, as far back as the close of the war, and in the years 
immediately following, Blaine's attention was turned to the commercial relations 
of the country. He noted, with extreme regret, the falling away of the foreign 
commerce of the United States. He saw the merchant-marine dwindle, and the 
ships of other nations crowding into our harbors. It was at this time that those 
ineradicable impressions were made on his mind relative to the foreign commerce 
of our country, which proved to be determinative of many of his subsequent 



112 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

policies. He sought as early as 1866 to restore the commerce of the United 
States, and advocated, in the House of Representatives, a proposition to purchase 
ships abroad, with a view to regaining what we had lost. 

The brilliant Blaine had now become an acknowledged leader. We speak 
of the time when he concluded his second term of service in Congress. Garfield 
was also rising. The latter aspired to become the financial leader of the House, 
as Thaddeus Stevens had been before him. Blaine looked to general leadership 
and gained it. Conkling looked to leadership by conquest, by organization and 
victorious assumptions. Blaine sought to improve himself and to enlarge his 
views. In these particulars few men have been more persistent and systematic. 
Blaine was a great observer and student. He was omnivorous. His reading, 
and note-taking, and digestion, and deduction, and formulation of propositions 
and arguments, went on constantly, in season and out of season, until he 
became, far inside of his fortieth year, one of the best-posted politicians and 
statesmen in the Republic. 

In pursuance of his habit, he now sought a turn of travel abroad. In the 
fall of 1 866, he was re-elected to Congress, almost without opposition. It is one 
of the remarkable things in the career of Blaine that there has always been a 
slumbering applause along the Democratic lines, ready to burst out for him on 
the slightest provocation. Notwithstanding the fact that he was politically a 
man of assault and battle, the enemy admired him and at times came near 
loving him. The home papers of the opposition in his district were almost 
read}- to support him. On the occasion of his third nomination, the Rockland 
Democrat did the unusual thing by publishing an editorial which any leader 
of an opposition party might have been proud to extort from his opponent. 
On the occasiou referred to, the Democrat spoke as follows : 

" At the convention of the Third Congressional District, in Augusta, on 
Friday last, Hon. James G- Blaine was renominated as the Union candidate 
for Congress by acclamation. This is an endorsement of Mr. Blaine's ability 
and course in Congress of the most flattering character. His constituents are 
second to none in the State for intelligence and general political information, 
and understand thoroughly the candidate they have placed before the people a 
third time. In March next Mr. Blaine will have held his seat in the House 
two terms, and in September will be elected to take his third term. While he 
has been untiring in his efforts to promote the interests of our State, Mr. 
Blaine has not confined himself to local affairs, but has exerted himself in the 
broader field of statesmanship, and gained a national reputation. The amend- 
ment to the Constitution now adopted by Congress, which proposes to correct 
the basis of representation in the South, was originated by Mr. Blaine. It 
has been somewhat changed from its original form, but its purport and 
substance were taken from him, and it is now one of the most important steps 
in the process of reconstruction. It is not necessary to recall and review the 
many measures with which his name is prominently connected, for they are 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 113 

generally known, and his renomination is an endorsement of his acts far 
bey^ond anything we might say. As a ready, forcible debater, a clear reasoner, 
sound legislator, fearless advocate, and true supporter of the principles and 
organization of the party of Union and Right, he has made a mark in the 
annals of Congress of which he and those who elected him may be proud. 
The Union voters of the Third District have manifested good sense in 
renominating so competent a candidate to represent them. In these critical 
times the policy of changing experienced, tried and true men for new 
and inexperienced ones is to be avoided as much as possible. In favorable 
times that policy will do, but this is not the season. The Union men of 
the Third District will not fail to give Mr. Blaine a good support at the 
polls." 

Returning from his foreign excursion, during which he was an observant 
student for several months, in 1867, in England and on the continent, Blaine 
resumed his place in the House of Representatives as a member of the Fortieth 
Congress. He was now clearly in the ascendant. He had reached the 
beginning of his prodigious popularity. Not only in the Government, but in 
Washington City, and socially and politically throughout the country, his 
influence became immense. The enthusiasm for him at the Capital rose with 
each stage of his progress. Visitors in that city always wanted " to see 
Blaine " and, if possible, to hear him. He had become one of the oracles of 
his party. He was careful not to make mistakes. He prepared himself assid- 
uously. His rash caution or cautious rashness was precisely of a kind to 
dazzle and to win applause. We ruay frankly admit that applause was grate- 
ful to his ears. During the sessions of the Fortieth Congress he was always 
at the fore. He was busy to an almost immeasurable degree. He perceived 
his ascendancy in his party and looked to greater things. His committee work 
in this Congress touched upon measures for the reorganization of the ami}' 
and navy of the United States ; for the improvement of the post-office system ; 
for the promotion of the interest of the Congressional Library ; for the crea- 
tion of Indian reservations ; for the establishment of a carrier system 
between the States. Other incidental questions were those relating to the 
management of the Treasury ; to the cotton tax ; to the successive issues of 
national bonds ; to the earliest funding bills ; to a treaty with Mexico ; to 
foreign commerce ; to the election laws ; to river and harbor improvements ; to 
the rules of the House ; to the investigation of the custom house ; to local 
matters, and to a thousand concerns of individuals and persons. He worked 
with an earnestness and enthusiasm which was equaled by perhaps only one 
man in the House of Representatives, his future successful competitor for the 
presidency, James A. Garfield. 

We do not here stop to recount the speeches and measures of Blaine, pro- 
moted or contemplated, during the sessions of the Fortieth Congress. Blaine 

went through that Congress with complete success and triumph. He came 
s 



114 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



out of it with immense popularity. He was re-elected for the fourth time in 
the fall of 1868, aud on the fourth of the following March was nominated by 
the Republican caucus for the speakership of the House of Representatives. 
He went into this high seat coincidently with General Grant's victorious 
entrance into the White House. He received for the speakership a vote of 
135 against the 57 which were cast by the Democrats for their favorite and 
nominee, Michael C. Kerr, of Indiana destined after six years to turn the 
tables on Blaine himself and gain the speakership. 

We have thus hurriedly traced the congressional career of James G. 
Blaine through its first passage in the House of Representatives. This covered 
a period of six years, extending from December of 1863 to March of 1869. At 
the latter date he was promoted, as we have just said, to that position which 
is regarded as the second in importance to the presidency of the United 
States. 

We need only remark upon the rapidity of this rise to distinction. Blaine 
was one of the youngest men who have attained the speakership of the House. 
At the time of his election he was but thirty-nine years of age. He had tlms, 
while virtually in his youth, gaitied a proud pre-eminence. His career, though 
mingled with some obscuration, hardship and trial, had been steadily upward. 
The asceut had been steep and rapid. He had sprung up the heights with an 
agility and vigor which have rarely been witnessed in the case of a political 
aspirant. Military heroism sometimes foreruns the age at which Blaine had 
now arrived. In a few instances, as in the case of the younger Pitt, states- 
manship and power have come at an age earlier even than that at which Blaine 
rose to indisputable leadership. But, on the whole, the rise of the latter is a 
conspicuous example of what industry and intellect and ambition are able to 
effect in a country such as ours. 





CHAPTER IV, 



IN THE SPEAKERSHIP. 



HREE men have each been three times elected to the 
speakership of the House of Representatives. Henry 
Clay was so honored in 1811, 1S13 and 1815. Schuyler 
Colfax was in like manner distinguished in 1863, 1865 
and 1S67. James G. Blaine received the same honor at 
the hands of his party in 1S69, 1871 and 1873. The 
fact of a re-election to such a position by such a body 
as the House of Representatives is the strongest possible 
testimony ; not, indeed, to the efficiency of party machinery, but 
to the unmistakable abilities and fitness of the person so 
honored. The House of Representatives never desires to have 
an inefficient Speaker. Whatever ma}* be the vicissitudes of 
politics in that body, the wish is always prevalent that the 
presiding officer may be capable and popular as well as 
impartial and just. The business of the House as well as the 
reputation of the country requires such a standard of excel- 
lence in the speakership. 

It might be of interest to make an historical and personal 
comparison of the three distinguished iVmericans who have 
each been twice re-elected to the Speaker's chair of the House 
of Representatives. In a contest on the line of great abilities, 
we should have to limit the comparison to Clay and Blaine. Mr. Colfax was 
a man of more moderate and modest proportions ; but he was an evenly 
balanced man of astute faculties, clear vision and the finest temper. It should 
be said that in Clay's time the House of Representatives was by no means 
the body which it has since become. It was not wanting in great abilities 
and great contentions. But it was not like the House, as it now springs from 
the vast domains of the Republic and from the suffrages of thirteen millions 
of voters. We have already commented upon the personal ascendancy which 
was gainable by men in the earlier years of the Republic. As late as 1840, 
political leaders were not dependent upon the caucus, the convention and the 
central committee, as the}' have since become. 

These facts give an easy advantage to Clay in the matter of a comparison 
with Blaine. That Clay was a great speaker cannot be doubted. His 
magnificent, ugly presence was an inspiration and a commanding force. He 

("5) 



116 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



was, perhaps, not the most astute of parliamentarians; but the sense of equity 
was strong in him and his mind was keenly alert. His personal bearing in 
the Speaker's chair was not inferior to that of any presiding officer which the 
American Congress has furnished. As a Speaker his temper was more subject 
to ruffle and flustration than that of either Colfax or Blaine. Both of the 
latter had extraordinary command of themselves. Neither ever forgot himself 
nor abdicated the place of reason. Each held on through stormy periods of six 
years' service with a demeanor as steady and unmoved as it was urbane and 
debonair. 

In acquired abilities, Blaine was by much the greatest of the three. The 
range of his information was wider ; his comprehension of facts, both national 
and international, more profound and accurate. His parliamentary knowledge 
was as refined and exact as it was complete. His accomplishments as a 
parliamentarian were as varied and perhaps more exhaustive than those of 

Colfax ; but in personal suavity and unruffled dis- 
position, the latter was the equal of any. 

It has pleased the American people to institute 
many comparisons between James G. Blaine and 
Henry Clay. They have chosen to regard the 
former as the modern representative of the great 
Kentuckian. Such similitudes, if they exist, are 
pleasing to the public mind. It were a difficult 
question to know precisely how it is and why it 
is that men are so much regarded as the reproduc- 
tions of one another. There is no essential reason 
why a man should not be considered in his indi- 
vidual personality apart from all anti-types and 

JAMES G. BLAINE IN THE SPEAKERSHIP. 1 11 , 1 -n 1 

protot3'pes and all types whatsoever. But there is 
a weakness in the mind for considering every man by the standards, accomplish- 
ments and character of some other between whom and himself contrasts and 
likenesses are discovered. 

Blaine and Clay have thus been set together in public estimation ; and 
we may confess that there are grounds for juxtaposition. The points of 
likeness are in several particulars striking and unmistakable. The ambitions of 
the two men were alike, and to pass over much their political destinies were 
alike. Each was fated to be tantalized with the presidency ; to have it near 
and yet to touch it not. The inspiring sentiments of the two statesmen were 
also identical in several particulars. Each had personal warmth ; each had 
enthusiasm ; each had great abilities of nature and large acquirements of 
experience. The attainments of Blaine were vastly greater than those of Clay. 
He knew more than the Kentucky statesman could know, in consideration of 
the circumstances in which he was born and reared. As to natural abilities, 
we should not rashly decide between them. As to the powers of leadership, 




LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 117 

so far as the saying were deduced from personal qualities and characteristics, 
we think the palm belongs to Clay. His party never broke behind him. It 
may have been his good fortune not to have such intense rivalry in the rear 
and on the right and left ; but it was his good sense not to provoke it. 

In actual, personal magnetism it were again difficult to decide between the 
two men. The power of each in this particular was immense. We may not 
presume to decide what that particular thing is which constitutes personal 
magnetism. It has in it first of all an element of openness, frankness. The 
person who possesses it seems to stand open to approach and to invite it. He 
has not many closed doors. The small and the great find an avenue to him, 
and in doing so come to have a personal interest in him. In the next place, 
there is such a thing as spiritual temperature. The body thermometer decides 
that the material temperature of all human beings is the same. The obese 
man and the living skeleton ; the old man and the young man ; the crowing 
baby and the bedridden invalid all have the same bodily heat and maintain it 
from the beginning to the end of life. 

But in the world of spirits it seems not to be so. We apply the term more 
to the mind and the emotion by a metonomy in our attempt to convey an idea 
bv material imager}-. Certain it is that minds differ from one another very 
greatly in a quality which seems like warmth. Some are warm and some are cold. 
Some are lukewarm. It was souls of the latter kind that the angel of the 
Apocalypse threatened to spew out of his mouth ! There have been leaders who 
were so by being cold. We are not to admit that there is no power in an 
iceberg. But most leaders of men have been so by their spiritual temperature. 
In this list fall both Clay and Blaine. Their inner heat was high unusually 
high. Whoever came within range of either felt the glow. In proportion as it 
is better, more pleasing to be warm than to be chilled to that degree, do men return 
and return again into the presence that warms them. Few of us are in such 
a condition of body or soul as to desire to be chilled or even cooled. It appears 
to us that warmth is life and that cold is death. Those leaders, therefore, who 
warm their followers seem to give life ; and the masses draw to them as to the 
genial light and heat of the hearthstone or the sun. 

We need not pursue these reflections or follow further the comparison which 
the American people have chosen to make of Henry Clay and James G. Blaine. 
Like the former the latter entered into the Speakership of the House of Repre- 
sentatives to hold it for three consecutive terms. Blaine's term extended from 
1868 to 1874 or more properly from the accession of Grant to the presidency 
to the middle of the General's second term. 

We might remark upon the strong contrasts afforded in the character and 
manner of the President and those of the Speaker of the House. Here, indeed, 
there was nothing but the similitude of unlikeness. It is needed, when things 
go smoothly with an administration, that there shall be concord between the 
Chief Magistrate and the Speaker of the House. The latter is the head of the 



118 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

legislative as the former is the head of the executive department of the Gov- 
ernment. It does not follow that the Speaker is specially under the influence 
of the Chief Magistrate. The latter has a cabinet which is generally his own ; 
and between him and the Senators of his own party, who were expected to 
dispense the patronage in their respective States, there are the strongest ties. 
But the Speaker has a comparative independence and a responsibility and 
autonomy of his own. It should be said that Blaine and Grant got on well 
together. Notwithstanding the General's silence and reserve, he was a good 
party man, and it was not difficult to be in harmony with him, provided only 
the person desiring to be harmonious would be patient with the silence and 
non-committal manner which was the natural garb of Grant's character. 

The relations to which we here refer were oddly complicated by the rivalry 
which, as the reader knows, had now existed for three years between Blaine 
and Roscoe Conkling. It became at length a part of the policy of the latter 
to carry the day against his competitor by insinuating himself between Blaiue 
and President Grant. While it does not appear that he ever succeeded in wholly 
alienating the President from the man of Maine, he did succeed in gaining a 
remarkable ascendency over General Grant himself and a correspondingly exag- 
gerated influence in the Government. More and more, as time wore on, did 
Conkling hold to this line. The name and fame of Grant became world-wide 
and Conkling became his spokesman. We need not here inquire how it was or 
why it was that a man so unlike Grant as was the New York Senator could 
make himself his ally, gain his confidence and become a directive force over his 
actions and policy. It is sufficient to note the fact that it was so, and to mark 
two circumstances which may partly explain it. 

In the first place Conkling was a man of great personal fidelity. He bad 
also that particular kind of integrity which was one of the fundamental elements 
of Grant's character. These two elements were in common between the two 
men, and Conkling was able, planting himself upon them, to gain an influence 
over the General's mind, which was perhaps attained by no other statesman of 
the time. This influence began to assert itself while Blaine was Speaker of the 
House of Representatives ; but it was not used to the hurt of the Speaker while 
in office to the extent that it was used afterwards when he was an aspirant for 
the presidency. 

The Speaker of the House of Representatives is, as we have said, a pre- 
vailing force in the Government of the United States. With him much originates. 
He is able to control almost everything. The legislative department of the 
Government, like all things else well organized, has become machine-like and 
methodical in its operation. The subordinate parts of the House are its 
committees. Everything depends on the committee. Without the committee 
hardly anything begins or is able to promote itself into the fashion of legislation. 
The Speaker makes his committees. He makes them under party expediency. 
But, nevertheless, he makes them. He creates them as he will. In particular 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 119 

he names the chairmen, who become to the respective committees what the 
committees themselves are to the House. Matters must originate in the brain 
of somebody. That somebody is the chairman. The chairman becomes the 
committee ; the committee becomes the House, and the House becomes the 
country. The Speaker makes the chairman makes him with, care and with 
certain ends in view. The chairmen are his men ; with them he is in accord 
and they with him. 

On his entrance into the speakership the better and finer qualities of Blaine 
began to be at once manifested. He showed himself pre-eminently fitted for the 
place. He followed a Speaker of great popularity ; but there was no waning of 
influence and admiration in the direction of the chair. It was soon seen by the 
House and by the country that the new presiding officer, contrar}- to what might 
have been expected from his well-known characteristics, had the exact temper 
requisite in a great Speaker. From the first he was calm, judicial, impartial to 
a degree. His speech of acceptance was brief and modest. No sooner was the 
responsibility of office laid upon him than he became or began to become serene 
and just. The qualities which he revealed from the first at the Speaker's desk 
gained for him a universal esteem and the glowing applause of his party. 

The life of a Congressman is easy or laborious as he makes it so. 
Accordingly as his ambitions are prevalent and his abilities great, his duties and 
responsibilities become onerous. If he desires to glide along smoothly and 
obscurely, he has little to do but to vote or perhaps occasionally to object. 

The duties of the Speakership are prodigious. The Speaker is every man's 
man. All committees go to him ; all members follow him ; visitors from every 
part in the city appeal to him; lobb3'ists circle around him, read}- to alight if 
they may ; heads of the departments consult him ; his responsibilities are 
universal and his correspondence mountainous. All this Blaine had now to 
face. He did it with an energy equal to the emergencies of his office. He was, 
in season and out of season. He was alert to such an extent that the wonder 
is he was not consumed in the flame of his own energies. How, indeed, 
can a man meet duties so exacting, so overwhelming, so continuous and yet 
survive ? 

The answer is not far to seek. He can meet them with good health and 
ambition. He must have both. The key to the situation is good health, and 
the key to that is temperance. Blaine was always a temperate man. Several 
vices flourish in Washington City and their malign influence is felt in the 
Capitol. The worst of these are intemperance, gambling, and social dissipation 
and unrest. Were one of these, or still worse, two or three of them fastened 
upon a Congressman, he is lost. Against them Blaine was proof. For nearly 
thirty years he endured the temptations and besetments of the capital and the 
Capitol with immunity. While not a total abstainer in the matter of drink, he 
was, nevertheless, a temperate man. He was also abstemious in food and in 
society. He husbanded his resources; he took care of himself. He was always 



120 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



as clean as a prince, neat, decorous, well-kept and well-dressed, upright, brisk 
in exercise, active and full of nerve. 

It was in this temper and manner that he went about the great duties of 
the Speakership. He bore them for six years with unfaltering fidelity. The 
great questions were now on, and to these he gave constant concern. Johnson 
was out of the presidency and Grant was in. In the South it was the heyday 
of anarchy. There had been plans of reconstruction and other plans and still 
other. Finally it had resolved itself into military districts, and against these 
and their sway the malcontent element of the old slave States had gone into 
the rage of Ku-kluxism. It was a transitional state which must pass away. 
It was neither the one thing nor the other. It was neither reason nor force. 
Both reason and force were mounted on the steed of authority ; but one rode 

with his face afore and the other looking 
backwards. The business of the House 
of Representatives turned constantly to 
this state of affairs, and the Republican 
party, dominant in the Government, 
must tide over the nation from the 
estate of war through semi-war to the 
estate of peace. 

Within a week after the acces- 
sion of Grant to the presidency, the 
act entitled " An Act to Strengthen 
the Public Credit," etc., was passed by 
the House of Representatives. It was 
the first and possibly the most impor- 
tant of those financial measures, by 
|jp which ultimately the payment of coin 
was substituted for the payment in 
paper of the debts, public and private, 
of the people of the United States. 

We have already said that Blaine 
upheld and promoted the measures winch have now become a part of the finan- 
cial history of the country. He advocated all of the leading plans which looked 
to the resumption of specie payments and the obliteration of the redundant paper 
currency. In so doing he, like Garfield, made himself secure with the fund- 
holding classes of the country. As yet the debtor classes had not come to 
understand that every turn of the crank, by which the purchasing power of the 
dollar was forced tip the scale, had for them the significance of double pay- 
ment. The Grant administration was very firmly planted on the principle 
of the restoration of the credit of the United States. To this end everything 
was made to bend and conform. Blaine, at the head of the House, stood squarely 
bv the dominant policy, and with Garfield for his Chairman of the Committee 




H. STEPHENS. 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



121 



of Ways and Means, pressed forward each measure by which the financial 
system of the country was ultimately set again on the basis of a coin dollar. 

The political party through whose agency the war for the suppression of 
the rebellion had been brought to a successful close inherited from that conflict 
a thousand difficulties. Among the rest the Republican party inherited the 
negro. The exact nature of the inheritance had not been foreseen. Philanthropy 
had caught at the negro as a man in bondage ; and so he was. It had 
been believed, or at least accepted as a certain result, that with the breaking 
of bondage the man would appear. He would be a man in black, but a man 
nevertheless and a brother. The event did not meet the expectation. The 
negro came, and to the astonishment of 
philanthropy, was as ignorant on the day 
after his emancipation as he had been 
the day before. He came by the million. 
A prodigious cloud of black lay banked 
along the whole Southern horizon. Phil- 
anthropy would at once resolve it ; would 
make it into citizenship ; would transform 
it as with the stroke of a wand. 

The transformation did not ensue. 
The question of giving suffrage to the 
blacks as a remedy for their situation 
came on, and a debate on the subject 
broke out all along the line. The echoes 
of it were heard in places high and 
places low. In the discussion cf the day, 
a symposium was prepared for the North 
American Review, and to this the Speaker 
of the House was a contributor. The 
caption was : " Ought the Negro to be 
Disfranchised?" The contributors were 
L. Q. C. Lamar, Wade Hampton, James A. Garfield, Alexander H. Stephens, 
Wendell Phillips, Montgomery Blair and Thomas A. Hendricks. To Blaine 
was assigned the prominent part of opening and closing the discussion, which 
was able and exhaustive. The articles appeared in 1S70, and it was conceded 
that those contributed by Blaine were among the ablest of all. It is an odd 
circumstance in the political history of our times that the question at issue is, 
after nearly a quarter of a century, as vital as ever. It has shifted, however, some- 
what from the narrower issue of the enfranchisement of the black men to the broader 
questions of the enfranchisement of the ignorant, the vicious and the incapable. 

It is, indeed, a serious problem in a free government to determine whether 
or not the suffrage should be universal, or whether in some way it should be 
restricted to those who are, for the time, already qualified to use it. It would 




THOMAS A. HENDRICKS. 



122 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

seem to go with the saying that none should be permitted to vote who were 
not capable of casting an intelligent, honest and, let us say, virtuous ballot. On 
the other hand, it seems to go with the saying that in a democratic country 
all must alike have the right to declare their choice, and from one point 
of view at least, to stand as absolute equals before the universal law of 
manhood. It may well be urged against those who advocate a restricted 
suffrage that the principle of withholding the right to vote, that is to say, 
the power of citizenship, from a man until he has first, and, as it were, 
in the abstract, qualified himself to exercise the rights of citizenship, is about 
on a level with the policy of the fool in the fable, who resolved never to go 
into the water until he had learned to swim. Suffice it to say that in the 
American Republic the problem of unrestricted suffrage has not yet been 
adequately solved. 

With the extension of his term of service, the reputation of Blaine increased, 
until he began to be mentioned for the presidency. Among the Republican 
leaders, there were, from this time forth only a few to compete with him for 
the first place. One of these was Conkling ; another was Garfield ; another 
was Morton ; several others, such as Edmunds, and Sherman, appeared in the 
lists. Biit of these we shall speak further, by and by. 

The reader is perhaps informed, either by his memory or his books, of the 
deteriorated condition of the Government in the after part of the Grant admin- 
istrations. The President of the United States was not, himself, in any 
measure, responsible for the state of affairs that supervened. That state of affairs 
arose out of antecedent conditions and was, in a degree, independent of the 
personal actors who were then on the public stage. 

We might almost say that the actors, at that time, were victimized by 
history. They inherited a corrupt and corrupting condition. This condition, 
for the most part, had its roots in money. The Credit Mobilier had its root 
in money. The whisky frauds had their origin in money and the money 
motive. To get rich, to acquire enormous wealth and therebv to gain an ascend- 
ancy over society, which, in Europe, comes rather by birth and rank, is a 
motive naturally strong with the American people. For a long time after the 
Civil War the opportunity and motive of speculation were abroad. 

The Republican party, at the time of which we speak, was put on the 
defensive by its political enemies and lashed, as to its back, with many stripes 
some of them just. Almost every man in public life who belonged to the 
dominant party between 1S68 and 1878 was subjected to merciless assault on 
the score of honesty/. Leader after leader was assailed as a dishonest man 
Not a few were ruined or at least driven into retirement by the attacks that 
were made upon them. Blaine, while in the speakership, escaped ; but the 
enemy lay in wait for him, and in proportion to his rise, and in particular in 
the degree that the presidency seemed to beckon, were the conditions prepared 
for an attack upon him. 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE- 123 

We have spoken of the popularity with which Blaine administered the 
duties of the Speaker's office. At his first entrance upon those duties, he had 
said : " The gratification which this signal mark of your confidence brings to 
me, finds its only drawback in the diffidence with which I assume the weighty 
duties devolved upon me. Succeeding to a chair made illustrious by the services 
of such eminent statesmen and skilled parliamentarians as Clay, and Stevenson, 
and Polk, and Winthrop, and Banks, and Grow, and Colfax, I may well distrust 
my ability to meet the just expectations of those who have shown me such marked 
partiality. But relying, gentlemen, on my honest purpose to perform all my 
duties faithfulU* and fearlessly, and trusting in a large measure to the indul- 
gence which I am sure you will always extend to me, I shall hope to retain, 
as I have secured, your confidence, your kindly regard and your generous support." 

How well that "generous support" was extended to him may be judged 
by the tone of the House when the Speaker came to the close of his first 
term. On the third of March, 1871, the Forty-first Congress expired. On 
that day Samuel S. Cox, of New York, who was leader of the Democratic min- 
ority in the house, offered the following resolution : 

" Resolved, In view of the difficulties involved in the performance of the 
duties of the presiding officer of this House, and of the able, courteous, digni- 
fied and impartial discharge of those duties by the Honorable J. G. Blaine 
during the present Congress, it is eminently becoming that our thanks be and 
they are hereby tended to the Speaker thereof." 

The gap between the first and second speakership, however, was but the 
span of a vacation. When the Forty-second Congress convened, on the fourth 
of March, 1S71, Blaine was re-elected Speaker by a vote of 126 to 92, the min- 
ority being cast for George W. Morgan, of Ohio. The Speaker entered upon 
his duties in the same manner and spirit as before, making an address of the 
highest order on taking the chair. 

It was at this time, namety, on the sixteenth of March, 187 1, that the 
memorable contest occurred on the floor of the House between the Speaker and 
Benjamin F. Butler, of Massachusetts. It was the heyday of Ku-kluxism in 
the South. The story of outrages in that distracted section kept drifting into 
the House and it was decided that it would be expedient to appoint a Com- 
mittee of Inquiry to investigate the alleged outrages in the Southern States. 
An amendment to the resolution had been added in the committee at the sug- 
gestion of Mr. Blaine, and this fact coming to the knowledge of Mr. Butler, 
the latter made it the basis of one of his peculiar, personal and political 
attacks. It seems that in the constitution of the standing committees, Butler 
had expected to receive the chairmanship of the Committee on Ways and 
Means. The Speaker, however, on inquiry, found that such an appointment 
would be highly disagreeable to the party in power and unpopular to the 
country at large. He therefore passed Butler by, greatly to the disgust of the 
latter. 



124 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

It was in the nature of General Butler to lie in wait for those whom he 
imagined had done him wrong and to use them up on occasion. He pursued 
this policy with respect to Blaine and made as his pretext the fact that the 
Speaker had gone out of his way to add a clause to a resolution which the 
caucus had prepared for the appointment of a committee. The addition made by 
Blaine had been simple enough and was to the purport that " the expenses of 
' said committee shall be paid from the contingent fund of the House of Repre- 
sentatives." Butler chose to regard this amendment as a trick and sent out to 
the newspapers a sort of letter striking the Speaker severe blows. The latter, 
going into the House, called to the chair William A. Wheeler, of New York, 
and grappled with his wily foeman. We have not the space in this connection 
to insert the debate and colloquy; it ma}' suffice to say that the Speaker did 
not issue from the contest worsted by his antagonist. In conclusion, he 
said : 

" Now, Mr. Speaker, nobody regrets more sincerely than I do any occur- 
rence which calls me to the floor. On questions of propriety I appeal to 
members on both sides of the House, and they will bear me witness, that the 
circulation of this letter in the morning prints, its distribution throughout the 
land by telegraph, the laying it upon the desks of members, was intended 
to be by the gentleman from Massachusetts, not openly and boldly, but 
covertly I will not use a stronger phrase an insult to the Speaker of this 
House. As such I resent it. I denounce the letter in all its essential 
statements, and in all its misstatements, and in all its mean inferences and 
meaner innuendoes. I denounce the letter as groundless, without justification, 
and the gentleman himself, I trust, will live to see the day when he will be 
ashamed of having written it." 

At the adjournment of the Forty-second Congress, on the eighth of June, 

1872, William E. Niblack, of Indiana, took the chair temporarily, and Samuel 
J. Randall, of Pennsylvania, offered the following resolution, which was 
unanimously adopted : 

" Resolved, That the thanks of this House are due and are hereby 
tendered to James G. Blaine, Speaker of the House, for the able, prompt and 
impartial manner in which he has discharged the duties of his office during 
the present session." 

. When the Speaker came to the close of his term on the third of March, 

1873, Daniel W. Voorhees, of Indiana, rose at his desk and said : " Mr. 
Speaker, I rise to present a matt?r to the House in which I am sure every 
member will concur. In doing so I perform the most pleasant duty of my 
entire service on this floor. I offer the following resolution. It has the 
sincere sanction of my head and of my heart. I move its adoption." 

The clerk then read the resolution as follows : 

" Resolved, That the thanks of this House are due and are hereby 
tendered to Honorable James G. Blaine for the distinguished ability and 






LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 125 

impartiality with which he has discharged the duty of Speaker of the House 
of Representatives of the Forty-second Congress." 

The same confidence was retained by Mr. Blaine during his third term of 
service in the Speaker's chair. This was the Forty-third Congress, extending 
from 1S73 to 1875. On the third of March, in the latter year, the resolution 
of endorsement was submitted by Representative Potter as follows : 

" Resolved, That the thanks of this House are due and are hereby 
tendered to Honorable James G. Blaine, Speaker of the House of Representa- 
tives, for the impartiality, efficiency and distinguished ability with which he 
has discharged the trying and arduous duties of his office during the Forty- 
third Congress." 

This resolution also was unanimously adopted by the House. 

Blaine had now come to the close of his third term in the Speakership. 
If his party had continued in power in the House it seems likely that the 
extraordinary step would have been taken of electing him Speaker for the 
fourth time. History, however, does not know If. A political reaction bad 
now set in and the Republican majority in the House of Representatives was 
overthrown. The biennial election of 1874 went strongly against the party in 
power, and the Democrats gained the House. This carried with it, of course, 
the organization of the House. Blaine's term in the Speakership continued 
beyond the period of the election, and at the close of the Forty-third Congress, 
in March of 1875, his retirement was already determined. He availed himself 
of the opportunity to deliver the following brief address on retiring from the 
chair, which he had so long and so ably occupied : 

Gentlemen* : I close with this hour a six years' service as Speaker of the 
House of Representatives a period surpassed in length by but two of my pre- 
decessors, and equaled by only two others. The rapid mutations of personal 
and political fortunes in this country have limited the great majority of those 
who have occupied this chair to shorter terms of office. 

It would be the gravest insensibility to the honors and responsibilities of 
life not to be deeply touched by so signal a mark of public esteem as that 
which I have thrice received at the hands of my political associates. I desire 
in this last moment to renew to them, one and all, my thanks and my 
gratitude. 

To those from whom I differ in my party relations the minority of this 
House I tender my acknowledgments for the generous courtesy with which 
they have treated me. By one of those sudden and decisive changes which 
distinguish popular institutions, and which conspicuously mark a free people, 
that minority is transformed in the ensuing Congress to the governing power 
of the House. However it might possibly have been under other circumstances, 
that event renders these words my farewell to the chair. 

The speakership of the American House of Representatives is a post of 
honor, of dignity, of power, of responsibility. Its duties are at once complex and 



126 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

continuous ; they are both onerous and delicate ; they are performed in the broad 
light of day, under the eye of the whole people, subject at all times to the 
closest observation, and always attended with the sharpest criticism. I think 
no other official is held to such instant and such rigid accountability. Parlia- 
mentary rulings, in their very nature, are peremptory : almost absolute in 
authority and instantaneous in effect. Thev cannot always be enforced in such 
a way as to win applause or secure popularity ; but I am sure that no man 
of any party who is worth}' to fill this chair will ever see a dividing line 
between duty and policy. 

Thanking you once more, and thanking you most cordially for the honor- 
able testimonial )'OU have placed on record to my credit, I perform my only 
remaining duty in declaring that the Forty-third Congress has reached its con- 
stitutional limit, and that the House of Representatives stands adjourned without 
day. '[Applause.] 

With this episode we reach another important crisis in the career of James 
G. Blaine. He had attained the speakership and held it for six years. It was 
in the nature of the case that he should at length retire and turn his activities 
into another channel. The people of his home district in Maine were by no 
means in accord with the popular verdict by which the House of Representa- 
tives had been turned over to the Democracy. On the contrary, they re-elected 
Blaine to the House, and with the opening of the Forty-fourth Congress he 
appeared on the floor as the leader of the Republican minority. 

Political relations as well as personal had now been reversed. Michael C. 
Kerr, of Indiana, was chosen Speaker, and Blaine must place himself in the 
attitude of an objector and critic of the administration in its legislative depart- 
ment. At the same time, the prize of the presidency came in view and seemed 
to hang temptingly near to the hands of the ex-Speaker. His ascendancy in his 
party was undoubted, and it seemed the natural, if not the inevitable, thing that 
that party should now stamp its approval on The Man from Maine by electing 
him to the presidency. In the following chapter we are to recount the remainder 
of Mr. Blaine's public career down to the time of his retiracy to private life. 
This will include the period of his contest for the presidency and of his service 
in the office of Secretary of State. 



tlVI 




CHAPTER V. 

CONTESTS FOR THE PRESIDENCY. 

FTER his entrance into the House of Representa- 
ves in the Forty-fourth Congress, James G. 
laine was a known aspirant for the presidency. 
The arena was favorable. The House is on the 
hole a better field for the display of popular 
talents than is the Senate, or, indeed, than 
any other official place. The House is con- 
tentious. The American people like conten- 
tion. Political parties feed on contention and 
grow great when the}' have the better of the dis- 
pute. The epoch at which Mr. Blaine came 
back to Congress, no longer Speaker, but 
leader of the Republican minority, favored the 
display of the great talent which he possessed. 
Let us note the progress of events. The old plan of reconstruction had virtually 
proved a failure. The South would none of it. At length she had opportunity 
to express herself in her own manner, and the result was the sending up of the 
old leaders whom she had admired to be her leaders again. Ten years had now 
elapsed since the failure of the rebellion. The American heart on both sides 
was still hot with the expiring embers of the great contest. A great number 
of the first men of the exploded Confederacy now came into Congress. Their 
presence there was a matter of joy to the majority of the Southern people; but 
it was annoying to a majority of the North. About sixty brigadier generals 
of the Confederate army walked into Congress as the representatives of the very 
people whom they had led in the war against the Union. Their demeanor was 
not modest. As to punishing those who had led in the dismemberment of the 
Union and in the secession war, that had been given up. Not only did the 
leaders of the rebellion go unpunished, but now thev came applauded and took 
their places in the council chambers of the nation. 

The reader will not forget that the constitutional amendment had interposed 

some barriers against those who had been chiefly responsible for the Civil War. 

The Fourteenth Amendment bore upon them with considerable pressure. But 

provision was made for the removal of such disabilities as were thereby imposed. 

We are here to make note of one of those preliminary contests by which 

James G. Blaine was confirmed in the esteem of his party as a chieftain worthy 

(127) 



128 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

to be honored with the presidency. He adopted the policy of making himself 
the champion of the Republican sentiment in certain contests, which were of a 
kind to perpetuate the memories of the war and, therefore, likely to aronse the 
old Union enthusiasm throughout the country. In such contests Mr. Blaine 
always stood as a presidential figure. Whether he knew it or not ; whether he 
intended it or not ; the fact remained that the people, on such occasions, saw 
him as their champion and applauded him, not more for his success in the 
battle that was on, thau for his probable success in the battle that was to 
come. 

The condition of affairs of which we have spoken above was present at the 
opening of the Forty-fourth Congress. The acting Confederates in that body 
were men of strength and pride. One of the foremost of these was Benjamin 
H. Hill, of Georgia. In the first day of 1S76, Samuel J. Randall, of Pennsyl- 
vania, pressed to an issue his bill before the House for the removal from certain 
persons and classes of persons such disabilities as had been imposed by the 
Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. Among those who were to be thus 
exempted from further disparagement under the fundamental law of the land 
were the figureheads of the old Confederacy, including Jefferson Davis himself. 
He as well as the rest was to be restored by an exceptional law to such rights 
and privileges as were enjoyed by other citizens under the Constitution. The 
occasion was of a kind to provoke a stormy debate. 

The debate came on under a motion made by Blaine himself. This was 
in the nature of an amendment to the Randall bill. The amendment which he 
offered provided that Jefferson Davis, the former President of the Southern Con- 
federacy, should be excepted from the provision of the bill. This brought on 
the discussion, in which Benjamin H. Hill, of Georgia, took up the gauntlet 
against Blaine and he against him. The men were matched on a question 
which was likely to reinflame public opinion, both North and South, and to 
constitute an element in the presidential contest about to ensue. 

In another part of this volume we have given Blaine's speech on this occasion- 
It was one of extraordinary strength and audacity. He threw away all disguises 
and attacked the late President of the Confederacy as the person responsible 
for the atrocities of Andersonville. Blaine had fortified himself with the 
damaging facts respecting that horror. He revealed them without check. He 
marshaled them against the government of the Southern Confederacy, and in 
particular, against Jefferson Davis, with a vehemence amounting almost to fury. 
Hill was worsted in the encounter. Though he might well plead that the time 
for crimination and recrimination had passed ; though he might well urge that 
the Union was restored and that the lost cause was indeed lost ; though he 
might point to himself and more than sixty of his fellow members on the floor 
of the House as the best of all demonstration that the war was ended and that 
further animadversion upon those who had participated in it was illogical and 
anachronistic ; yet, on the other hand, Blaine might meet him with the allegation 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 129 

that disunionism was not only rampant, but that it was seeking to glorify 
itself, to make itself historically respectable, and that the responsibility of the 
head of the Confederacy- for the horrors of the Andersonville prison pen, while 
they might be passed over in silence, could never be condoned or forgotten. 
The argument was of a kind to appeal most strongly to the heart and passion 
of the Union veterans and indeed to the sentiment of the loyal people of the 
North. 

Ever after this encounter the name of Blaine was more and more spoken 
of for the presidency. Jefferson Davis was not amnestied, and the dislike of 
those who had favored the measure for Blaine and his coadjutors was intensified. 
Now it was that the opposition to him took the personal form. Those who 
desired to defeat him for the presidency began to follow his tracks from his 
boyhood to the present day The business was not characterized with either 
scruple or conscience. The worst thing that could be discovered as to his public 
life was the fact that he had been the owner of some railroad bonds. These he 
had purchased during his term of service in Congress. It became the concurrent 
wish of the Democracy and of those Republicans who, for various reasons, 
wished to beat him for the presidency, to circulate the storv of the candidate's 
connection with certain railways and to impress the public mind with the 
belief that he had been corrupt in relation thereto. 

This method was adopted in the early part of 1S76. The presidential 
nominations for the year were at hand and Blaine was the most prominent of all 
those who were looked to as possible standard bearers of the Republican party. It 
was, therefore, necessary to kill him off. At first an attack was made upon 
him with respect to his alleged connection with the Union Pacific Railroad 
Company and tu the receipt by him of certain moneys from the treasury of that 
road. This charge took form in the month of March, 1S76, and it became 
necessary for Blaine to fortify himself with certain documents and correspond- 
ence to disprove the allegation made against him. This he did disprove by 
the testimony of Sidney Dillon, at that time President of the Union Pacific 
Railroad Company, and by Colonel Thomas A. Scott, who had previously held 
the same office. Both of these gentlemen testified that Mr. Blaine had not, either 
directly or indirectly, received from the company any moneys or emoluments, 
and that the charges made against him were false in subject matter and 
spirit. The idea was to compel Blaine to call for a Committee of Investiga- 
tion. 

It was already April of 1876, and in two months the Republican National 
Convention would be held. It would, therefore, be only necessary or convenient 
to withhold the proceedings of the committee until after the convention, in 
order to dispose of the most promising candidate. That done, the committee 
might report whatever it pleased. It was not to be supposed, however, that 
Blaine would permit this scheme to go unchallenged. He went boldly into the 
House; got a hearing in that body on the twenty-fourth of April, 1876, and 
9 



130 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

exolained his connection or want of connection with the Union Pacific Railroad, 
and also the facts respecting his possession of certain bonds and stocks of the 
Little Rock and Fort Smith Railroad Company. 

It was in connection with the last named organization that Blaine was most 
hardly pressed by his enemies. The facts seem to have been about as follows : 
In the last days of Fillmore's administration, that is, in the beginning of 1853, 
the Government of the United States granted to the State of Arkansas certain 
public lands within that State to be used by the State authorities in promoting 
the construction of railways. In pursuance of this grant, the Legislature of 
the State granted articles of incorporation to the Little Rock and Fort Smith 
Railroad Company, giving also to the company a part of the lands which the 
State had received from the general Government ; namely, about five thousand 
acres to the mile. It was found impossible, however, to dispose of the lands thus 
granted, and the construction of the railway was by no means promoted at 
least for the present. Eight years went by and nothing was accomplished. 
The Civil War came on and during that contest there was, of course, nothing 
done by the company in the way of construction. After the war, namely, in 
1S65, the gift of lands by the general Government was renewed and confirmed, 
and the Legislature of Arkansas likewise confirmed the incorporation and grants 
of the Little Rock and Fort Smith Company. 

For two or three years that company was unable to sell its lands or procure 
a loan thereon. In 1S68, however, a company of Boston capitalists agreed to 
furnish the requisite money for the construction of the Little Rock and Fort 
Smith road, and to accept the securities which the company was able to offer. 
Bonds were accordingly prepared by the company aud these, in the summer of 
1869, were put on sale in the East. Such bonds were at that time popular ; 
railways were running everywhere, and whoever could, invested his money in 
them. Among other purchasers, Mr. Blaine went into the market aud bought 
a block of those bonds. He made the purchase at the regular price which had 
been fixed for their sale. The enterprise of constructing the railroad, however, 
proved abortive, and by and by, the value of the bonds fell away to a minimum. 
Blaine himself in this way lost between fifteen and twenty thousand dollars. 
Afterwards, with the hope of securing his investment, he joined with others, in 
like predicament with himself, in advancing some capital with a hope of helping 
out the investment already made. This also was unavailing, and he was 
obliged to institute proceedings in the Circuit Court of the United States for 
Arkansas, wherein he was plaintiff, for the reimbursement of his money. This 
contest went on until 1874, when the company was reorganized and Blaine 
received new stocks and bonds for the old, which he had held. 

Meanwhile, three years before this time, namely, in 1871, two other railways 
had become interested in the construction of the Little Rock and Fort Smith 
road. These were the Atlantic and Pacific, and the Missouri, Kansas and Texas 
Railroad. The former was induced to purchase a share in the stocks and bonds 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 131 

of the Little Rock concern, and the Missouri, Kansas and Texas followed with 
a like purchase but not so large. This transaction, on the part of the Atlantic 
and Pacific Railroad Company was known to Blaine, and the fact of his 
acquaintance in that quarter gave ground for the insinuation that he had used 
his influence corruptly in Congress in favor of the Atlantic and Pacific road in 
order to promote the purchase, by that corporation, of the stocks of the half- 
defunct Little Rock and Fort Smith Company. 

This charge brought the business into such shape that it was difficult for 
Blaine to do other than den}'. But he gave his denial with frankness and force. 
Under other circumstances it cannot be doubted that his speech in the House, 
on the twenty-fourth of April, would have given a quietus to the whole business. 
But the enemies of the statesman were not to be placated with auj-tking that 
was not absolute and incontrovertible. 

As the first of June approached and the Republican Convention was at hand, 
the investigation into Blaine's connection with the Fort Smith Railroad was 
pressed with pertinacit}' and malice. It seemed that the cloud which had been 
carefully prepared was to hang over the candidate's head when the convention 
of his party should assemble. The committee of the House, before which the 
matter was under investigation, gave out what it chose to give and suppressed 
what it would. At length the correspondence relative to the matter brought 
a dispatch from London which was in the nature of a refutation of the half- 
formed charges against which Blaine was contending. This dispatch was taken 
by Proctor Knott, of Kentucky, chairman of the committee, and by him sup- 
pressed. 

It chanced, however, that Blaine learned of the existence of the dispatch 
and of the policy of the chairman in withholding it from the public. This fact 
determined him to go again before the House and fight off his accusers. The 
particular thing alleged against him in the second attack was that he had 
purchased bonds of the Arkansas and Little Rock Railway after Congress had 
legislated favorably concerning the road. It seems that in connection with 
this part of the business Blaine had had some private correspondence with one 
of his friends in Boston, and in the course of this correspondence he had 
expressed the wish that the same should remain private or be destroyed. The 
knowledge of this correspondence reached a man named Mulligan, living in 
Boston, and he gained possession of Mr. Blaine's letters respecting proposed 
investments in the stocks referred to. The man Mulligan was summoned by 
the Congressional Committee to come to Washington. 

Blaine was on the alert, however, and going to Mulligan in person he 
managed by entreaty and expostulation in gaining possession of the whole 
correspondence. Having thus possessed himself of his own letters, he w T ent, on the 
fifth of June, into the House of Representatives and rising to a question of 
personal privilege read the whole correspondence and had it printed in the 
Congressional Record. It was on this occasion that he, in his own language, 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 133 

u took forty-four millions of his countrymen into his confidence. " As to the 
letters themselves, they showed that Blaine had had no dealings in any bonds except 
those of the Arkansas and Little Rock Railroad ; that he had purchased these 
at the usual market price, and that he had lost thereon about $20,000. The 
allegation that he had been bribed with gifts of bonds to promote legislation 
favorable to the road was not sustained. Everything was clear enough to those 
who desired to have it clear ; but the malcontents and the enemy still continued 
to suspect and to utter innuendoes. On the whole, Blaine's speech of the fifth 
of June was satisfactory to his party. It is possible that the charges against 
him had some effect to darken his prospects in Cincinnati. But the probability 
is that the course of events was not seriously deflected by all that was said 
and dene. 

It has been agreed by those acquainted with the facts, that the speech of Blaine, 
on the floor of the House, delivered in the midst of intense excitement, in the 
presence of expectant members, and crowded galleries, while the speaker held 
aloft the bundle of incriminating letters, was the most striking and dramatic 
episode of his whole career. It is probable that the incident has never been 
equaled in Congress or out of Congress. Garfield, who was an acute observer, 
declared that the spectacle surpassed anything he had ever known. It was 
felt, for the time, that Blaine had swept everything into the river, and that his 
connection with the railroad interests of the Southwest would not return to 
plague him further. 

It should be remarked that his speech in May, on the same subject, had 
been well received by the country. Even Harper's Weekly had declared that 
his refutation of the slanders against him had been ample and complete. After 
this, however, the charges were revived including the allegation that Blaine 
had unloaded his worthless Little Rock bonds on the Missouri Pacific Railway, 
and in this form the charge was more difficult to meet. Indeed the matter 
was ramified into many forms and was made to serve for what purpose it 
might in the political animosities of the day. Blaine's refutation in the early 
part of June trammeled up the consequences sufficiently to enable him to go 
before the Cincinnati convention with a fair prospect of success. Certain it is 
that when that body convened to select a standard-bearer for the Republican 
partv, Blaine was strongly in the lead. 

The Republican National Convention of 1S76 met in Cincinnati on the 
fourteenth of June and was organized by the selection of Honorable Theodore 
M. Pomeroy, of" New York, as temporary chairman. The permanent chairman 
was Honorable Edward McPherson, of Pennsylvania. Already before the 
assembling of the convention, the excitement had risen to the highest pitch. 
Cincinnati was filled with politicians and statesmen, supported by immense 
throngs of the rank and file, bearing banners and shouting for their favorite 
candidates. By this time the telegraph service and newspaper methods had 
been perfected to the extent that throughout the country the people were in 



134 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

touch with the convention. In every town there was an expectant crowd 
gathered at the telegraph station anxious to hear the news. We may here 
note the personalities of the contest. 

Among these we may mention first of all Roscoe Conkling, of New York. 
That statesman was in the battle to beat Blaine and to gain if he might the 
nomination for himself. His method was to work within the lines of party 
organization. The Conkling forces were to vote first of all for their leader and 
after that to support such candidate as might be most efficiently used against 
Blaine. Something of this sentiment prevailed in all parts of the field. There 
was a disposition to combine against the leading candidate and prevent his 
nomination. 

After Conkling, we may mention Benjamin H. Bristow as a possibility of 
the occasion. Bristow was supposed to have done great things in the last 
months of the Grant administration towards instituting a reform in the methods 
of the government. His name was used and his candidacy advocated by those 
who had committed themselves to that somewhat indefinite thing called reform. 
Bristow was at this time Secretary of the Treasury in the cabinet of General 
Grant. He was thought to have exerted himself in a manner most \ rtuous 
and energetic with respect to the whisky frauds with which the administration 
had been scandalized of late. It was for this reason, in large measure, that his 
candidacy was promoted at the Cincinnati convention. 

Next in order we may mention Oliver P. Morton, of Indiana. Morton was 
one of the tremendous men of his day. He had been war governor of Indiana 
at the age of thirty-seven. He had risen rapidly to the Senate of the United 
States and had become a leader in that body almost from the first day of his 
entrance. He stood in large measure for the strength and the animosity of 
the war spirit. He was a man of battle and conquest, whose notion of policy 
was generally limited and determined by the prospect of victory. As early as 
1867 he had been weakened in body by an attack of paralysis, which had made 
his step unsteady, but had fortunately left his mind as clear and resolute as ever. 

Morton had been one of the right-hand men of Lincoln. He went into 
the Cincinnati convention with many auspices of success ; but was not able to 
command the enthusiastic following that Blaine had from the start. One of 
the misfortunes of Morton's candidature was that a large part of his strength 
was gathered from the factitious negro Republicanism, which had been estab- 
lished by the party throughout the South. This element would count strongly 
in a convention ; but not strongly at the election. 

Another name, mentioned rather obscurely at first, was that of Rutherford 
B. Hayes, Governor of Ohio. Hayes had been a valiant soldier. He had stood 
like a hero on the crest of Cemetery Ridge. His war record was above 
reproach. He had said that any man who would leave the field to go home 
and run for office "ought to be scalped" an expression not unpleasing to the. 
loyal heart. After the war he had been three times elected Governor of Ohio. 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 135 

At the time of the convention, though he had not been much spoken of as 
the presidential candidate, he nevertheless possessed the qualities of a dark 
horse in admirable proportion. There were also other candidates, actual and 
possible ; but those above named were the prominent contestants. 

When the time came for nominating candidates before the convention, a 
remarkable episode occurred. Hitherto it had been the custom that the candi- 
dates before national conventions should be named by some distinguished per- 
sonages in the form of a nomination. On this occasion the country was 
treated to a sensation. The nominations proceeded in the usual manner until 
it came the turn of Blaine. Thereupon, Colonel Robert G. Iugersoll, of Illinois, 
ascended the platform, and in the midst of the greatest enthusiasm, delivered 
a brief speech, which has been regarded as among the gems produced by that 
famous orator. The effect was as marvelous as the matter. The address was 
immediately republished everywhere and the sobriquet of the " Plumed 
Knight " stuck to Blaine during the rest of his life. The nominating speech 
of Colonel Ingersoll was as follows : 

Massachusetts may be satisfied with the loyalty of Benjamin H. Bristow. 
So am I. But if any man nominated by this convention cannot carry the State 
of Massachusetts, I am not satisfied with the loyalty of that State. If the 
nominee of this convention cannot carry the grand old Commonwealth of Mas- 
sachusetts by 75,000 majority, I would advise them to sell out Faneuil Hall as 
a Democratic headquarters. I would advise them to take from Bunker Hill 
that old monument of glory. 

The Republicans of the United States demand as their leader in the great 
contest in 1876 a man of intelligence, a man of integrity, a man of well-known 
and approved political opinions. They demand a reformer after as well as before 
the election. They demand a politician in the highest, broadest and best sense 
a man of superb moral courage. They demand a man acquainted with public 
affairs, with the wants of the people, with not only the requirements of the hour, 
but with the demands of the future. They demand a man broad enough to com- 
prehend the relations of this Government to the other nations of the earth. 
They demand a man well versed in the powers, duties and prerogatives of each 
and every department of this Government. 

They demand a man who will sacredly preserve the financial honor of the 
United States ; one who knows enough to know that the national debt must be 
paid through the prosperity of this people ; one who knows enough to know 
that all the financial theories in the world cannot redeem a single dollar; one 
who knows enough to know that all the money must be paid, not by law, but by 
labor ; one who knows enough to know that the people of the United States have 
the industry to make the money and the honor to pay it over just as fast as they 
make it. 

The Republicans of the United States demand a man who knows that 
prosperity and resumption when they come must come together ; that when they 



136 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

come they will come hand-in-hand through the golden harvest fields ; hand-in-hand 
by the whirling spindles and the turning wheels ; hand-in-hand past the open 
furnace doors ; hand-in-hand by the flaming forges ; hand-in-hand by the 
chimneys filled with eager fire greeted and grasped by the coiiutless sons 
of toil. 

This money has to be dug out of the earth. You cannot make it by passing 
resolutions in a political convention. 

The Republicans of the United States want a man who knows that this 
Government should protect every citizen at home and abroad ; who knows that 
any government that will not defend its defenders and protect its protectors is 
a disgrace to the map of the world. They demand a man who believes in the 
eternal separation and divorcement of church and school. They demand a man 
whose political reputation is spotless as a star ; but they do not demand that 
their candidate shall have a certificate of moral character signed by a Con- 
federate Congress. The man who has in full, heaped and rounded measure all 
these splendid qualifications is the present grand and gallant leader of the 
Republican party James G. Blaine. 

Our country, crowned with the vast and marvelous achievements of its first 
century, asks for a man worthy of the past and prophetic of her future ; asks 
for a man who has the audacity of genius ; asks for a man who is the grandest 
combination of heart, conscience and brain beneath her flag. Such a man is 
James G. Blaine. 

For the Republican host, led by this intrepid man, there can be no defeat. 

This is a grand year a year filled with the recollections of the Revolution ; 
filled with proud and tender memories of the past, with the sacred legends of 
liberty ; a year in which the sons of freedom will drink from the fountains of 
enthusiasm ; a year in which the people call for a man who has preserved in 
Congress what our soldiers won upon the field ; a }<ear in which they call for 
the man who has torn from the throat of treason the tongiie of slander ; for the 
man who has snatched the mask of Democracy from the hideous face of rebel- 
lion ; for the man who, like an intellectual athlete, has stood in the arena of 
debate and challenged all comers, and who is still a total stranger to defeat. 

Like an armed warrior, like a plumed knight, James G. Blaine marched 
down the halls of the American Congress and threw his shining lance full and 
fair against the brazen foreheads of the defamers of his country and the 
maligners of his honor. 

For the Republican party to desert this gallant leader now is as though an 
army should desert their general upon the field of battle. 

James G. Blaine is now, and has been for years, the bearer of the sacred 
standard of the Republican party. I call it sacred because no human being 
can stand beneath its folds without becoming and remaining free. 

Gentlemen of the convention, in the name of the' Great Republic, the only 
republic that ever existed upon this earth ; in the name of all her defenders 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAIXE. 137 

and of all her supporters; in the name of all her soldiers living; in the name 
of all her soldiers dead upon the field of battle, and in the name of those who 
perished in the skeleton clutch of famine at Andersonville and Libby, whose 
sufferings he so vividly remembers, Illinois Illinois nominates for the next 
President of this country that prince of parliamentarians that leader of leaders 
James G. Blaine." 

The reader is already familiar with the result of the convention. The ball 
opened with two hundred and eighty-five votes for Blaine, one hundred and 
thirteen for Bristow, ninety-nine for Conkling, one hundred and twenty-four 
for Morton and sixty-one for Hayes. The contest went on until the nom- 
ination of Blaine was within reach. In order to prevent such a result, the 
field combined against him and threw the nomination to Hayes. On the last 
vote Blaine had three hundred and fifty-one against three hundred and eighty- 
four for the successful candidate. The result was well calculated to dampen 
the ardor of the Blaine contingent and some fears were entertained that 
coldness on the part of the defeated statesman and his following would work 
the defeat of Governor Hayes. 

Blaine, however, quickh' set the matter to rest, and as soon as the result 
was known made haste to assure the successful candidate of his hearty 
support. While the balloting was going on, Blaine and Garfield were sitting 
together in the house of the former at Washington City. As soon as the 
result was known Blaine took his pencil, and even before the counting of the 
final ballot at Cincinnati had been completed, wrote the following telegram to 
the candidate of the party : 

"To Governor R. B. Haves. Columbus, Ohio. 

I offer 3'ou my sincerest congratulations on j'our nomination. It will be 
alike my highest pleasure, as well as my first political duty, to do the utmost 
in ruy power to promote your election. The earliest moments of my 
returning and confirmed health will be devoted to securing you as large a 
vote in Maine as she would have given for myself. J. G. Blaine." 

The sequel showed that Mr. Blaine kept his word in letter and spirit. 
The contest that ensued was the closest in the political history of the country. 
But the fact of the narrow margin if margin there were in favor of 
Governor Hayes could not be attributed to any lukewarmness on the part of 
the supporters of Blaine. Rather was the result to be accounted for by 
general political changes that were taking place in the nation. The facts are 
that neither Hayes nor Tilden was clearly and indisputably elected to the 
presidency. The former had the advantage in the constitution of the Electoral 
Commission though that advantage had not been foreseen by the leaders of 
the Democratic party, who supposed that the casting vote would rest with 
Judge David Davis, of the Supreme Court, instead of with Judge Joseph P. 
Bradley. 



138 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



As for Tilden the States carried for hiui were sufficient to elect; that can- 
not be doubted ; but the means by which two or three of the Gulf States 
were secured for the Democratic ticket were so shocking, so repugnant to 
fairness, as to taint the votes of those States with more than a suspicion of 
fraud. Governor Hayes was counted into office by the Electoral Commission 
only two days before the date of inauguration. He took the office and held it 
as honorably as he might under such conditions of doubt and partisan assault. 
It remains one of the strange things of recent American history that that 
administration which was most nearly, in both its personnel and its method^ 

a reform administration, has 
been most violently and persist- 
ently assailed least credited 
with its earnest effort in behalf 
of better government. 

The reader will not fail to 
note in the dispatch quoted 
above from Mr. Blaine to his 
successful competitor a reference 
to his own health. That had 
recently been a subject of much 
anxiety to himself and his 
friends. A short time before 
the nominating convention at 
Cincinnati Mr. Blaine had been 
prostrated with sunstroke. The 
matter was serious and the coun- 
try was considerably moved for 
several days with the endangered 
condition of the popular leader. 
The attack passed off and Mr. 
Blaine regained his usual health. 
It may be doubted, however, 
whether he ever was completely restored. The occurrence of such an attack is 
likely to leave a shadow of apprehension behind it, and though the actual 
effects of the injury may be removed, the danger of a return is likely to induce 
timidity and doubt, both in the subject and among his friends. There has 
never been, since 1876, complete confidence in the validity of Mr. Blaine's health 
The turn of affairs at Cincinnati led almost immediately to a change in 
the direction of Blaine's public career. He was now in his seventh term as a 
Representative in the House. We may suppose that so far as his own feelings 
were concerned he did not desire longer service in that body. Perhaps Blaine 
perceived that the House of Representatives was better adapted to his talent 
and disposition than the Senate of the United States. But when defeated for 



















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GEN. SKLDEN CONNOR, 
Ex-Govenior of Maine, 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 139 

the presidential nomination lie was ready to make the change to the upper 
congressional body. For the moment it appeared that the way was hedged ; 
but circumstances presently made room for the aspirant. General Grant 
having accepted the resignation of Secretary Bristow, appointed Senator Lot 
M. Morrill, of Maine, to the vacancy in the Treasury Department. This 
transference of Morrill from the Senate left a vacancy in that body which 
might be filled by appointment of the Governor of Maine. The latter office 
was at this time occupied by General Selden Connor, who appointed Mr. 
Blaine as Morrill's successor in the Senate. Thus, on the tenth of July, 1S76, 
the transference of Blaine from the House to the Senate was effected. It is 
not improbable that the whole move had its motive and reason in the desire 
of Blaine and his friends to have him occupy a seat in the Senate. He 
signalized the event by addressing a letter to his constituents, from which we 
make the following extract : 

" Beginning with 1S62 you have by continuous elections sent me as your 
Representative to the Congress of the United States. For such marked confi- 
dence I have endeavored to return the most zealous and devoted service in my 
power, and it is certainly not without a feeling of pain that I now surrender 
a trust by which I have always felt so signally honored. It has been my 
boast in public and in private that no man on the floor of Congress ever 
represented a constituency more distinguished for intelligence, for patriotism, 
for public and personal virtue. The cordial support you have so uniformly 
given me through these fourteen eventful years is the chief honor of my life. 
In closing the intimate relations I have so long held with the people of this 
district, it is a great satisfaction to me to know that with returning health I 
shall enter upon a field of duty in which I can still serve them in common 
with the larger constituency of which they form a part." 

Following the biographical thread, we now come to the career of James G. 
Blaine in the Senate of the United States. This part, however, we shall, for 
the present, pass over in order to give an account of his subsequent contests for 
the presidency. It may suffice to say that the four years' service of the states- 
man in the Senate increased the estimate which the American people had of his 
genius and availability for the presidency. It was believed by his friends 
moreover that the attacks which had been made upon him would not be further 
renewed. As to his competitors, the field was cleared somewhat ; but in other 
respects it was complicated. Senator Morton, of Indiana, was dead. Bristow r had 
disappeared. Hayes was avowedly not a candidate for re-election. Conkling, 
though as ready as before to accept the highest honors of his party, had dis- 
covered a new lead which he preferred to follow. 

This new adventure was the candidacy of General Grant for renomination 
to the presidency. It was called the third-term movement. The project had 
the powerful support of Roscoe Conkling, Don Cameron, of Pennsylvania, and 
John A. Logan, of Illinois. General Grant himself had been abroad, traveling- 



140 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



about the world for the greater part of the interval between his retiracy and 
the next presidential year. He came home by way of San Francisco, and was 
greeted with applause, which was only the expiring reverberations of that which 
had followed him around the globe. It was believed by those who now con- 
stituted themselves his political champions that the great name of Grant might 
be used to conjure with, even to the extent of defeating therewith any other 
name whatsoever that might be presented to the Republican National Convention. 
With respect to this project it should be frankly stated that the so-called 
" third-term " movement was not a third-term movement at all. True, if it had 
been successful, it would for the third time have carried General Grant to the 
presidency. But an interval o r four years had elapsed. During that time 
General Grant had been a priv ite citizen. He had no official relations what- 
soever. He had no emoluments to bestow no offices to scatter. He had no 
power to renominate himself, beyond such power as belonged to an}' other 
citizen, phis the advantage which resided in his name and fame. To this 

advantage he was clearly entitled. Who 
would rob the General of the Union army 
of the strong hold which he had upon the 
admiration and confidence of his country- 
men? So the third-term objection did not 
really hold against General Grant. It 
could hold only against one who, going 
out of a second term in the presidency, 
sought to renominate himself for a third. 
This could not be said of Grant. He 
did not violate any tradition, or prece- 
dent, or unwritten law of his country in 
gen. grant's home in GALENA, i860. permitting his friends, even by silence, 

in 1SS0, to re-present his name for the presidency of the Republic. 

The fact, however, remained that the apparition of Grant, backed and pro- 
moted by Coukling, seriously obscured the prospects of Blaine with the approach 
of the presidential year. It was also bad for Blaine that he had once been 
defeated in convention. It is surprising to note how such things run in 
political history. It would seem that when a man receives the nomination for 
the presidential office he must do so at a single start. He must rise like a 
rocket and suddenly blaze above the battlement. If he rise and sink, it seems 
almost impossible for him to attain so great a height again. 

Chicago was selected as the scene of the Republican National Convention 
of 18S0. The date was set for the second of June. With the arrival of the 
day and the gathering of the convention, it was evident that the two great 
candidates were Blaine and Grant. Probably the latter was in the lead. There 
was a contest for the organization of the convention. The honor of the perma- 
nent chairmanship fell to George F. Hoar, of Massachusetts. The forces of the 




LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 141 

two leading candidates were about equally divided, and the mention of the name 
of either evoked a chorus of long-continued cheers. The city was wild with 
excitement, and the country, as had been the case four years previously, shared 
in the anxiety of the convention. 

On this occasion Blaine was put in nomination by the Honorable James F. 
Joy, of Michigan. The nominating speech was received by the Blaine delegates 
and by his adherents, within and without the convention, with a wild uproar 
of shouting and cheering. Grant was put in nomination by Roscoe Conkling 
in one of the most effective speeches ever delivered. Senator John Sherman, 
of Ohio, was nominated by Garfield, and the names of George F. Edmunds, 
of Vermont, and William Windom, of Minnesota, were also presented to the 
convention. The first ballot showed the strength of the respective candidates. 
Grant had three hundred and four votes ; Blaine, two hundred and eighty-four ; 
Sherman, ninety-three; Edmunds, thirty-four, and Windom, ten. 

The sequel showed that this declaration of opinion and preference had been 
made deliberately. Grant's vote remained stead}'. Blaine swayed a little up 
and down, but never reached the nominating point. The other candidates 
increased or waned in strength to a limited degree ; but none were able to break 
the solid following of the principal competitors. The contest went on day by 
day for a week. It was a wrestle of the giants and neither was able to throw 
the other. At length it became apparent that Blaine could not be nominated. 
It was also perhaps apparent that Grant would not receive the prize. The forces 
of the General, however, stood firm and could not be stampeded. 

At length the attention of the convention began to turn in search of such 
a candidate as would be acceptable to the Blaine party. It was this circumstance 
that brought Garfield into view. On the seventh day of the convention the 
name of that successful leader was openly sprung on the convention, and on 
the thirty-sixth ballot Blaine's friends went over to him and gave him the 
nomination. Grant's contingent, on the last ballot, numbered three hundred 
and six. Garfield received three hundred and ninety-nine, while forty-two of the 
Blaine delegates persisted in firing their last charge for their favorite. The 
nomination, however, had gone to the man of Ohio and not to the man of 
Maine. 

It cannot be denied that Blaine, in the da}' of defeat, generally showed up 
well in his spirit and conduct. He accepted the result of the Chicago conven- 
tion with apparent cheerfulness. He threw himself into the canvass and con- 
tributed a full measure to the success of his party. Garfield was elected and 
the people recognized the fact that it was the fidelity of Blaine that had secured 
this result. The names of the two statesmen became indissolubly associated. 

It was evident, when the result of the election was known, that Blaine 
would be of the substance and soul of the new administration. Conkling also 
had given in his allegiance to Garfield and had contributed powerfully to the 
success of the ticket in New York. He also had grounds to expect that his 



142 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



influence in the incoming administration would not be insignificant. It should 
be noted, however, that the ascendancy of Blaine and Conkling together in the 
same administration was a foregone impossibility. 

When Garfield was inaugurated President, Blaine had been in the Senate 
for nearly five years. Public opinion pointed to him in advance as the leader 
of the new cabinet, and in this, expectation was not disappointed. The 
President promptly sent in the name of Blaine for Secretary of State. He was 
thus transferred into a new relation at the head of the Department of Foreign 
Affairs. He came to the cabinet with full preparation. Always a student, he 
had, since his accession to the Senate, given special study to such questions as 

concerned the foreign relations of 
the Government. He took the 
portfolio of State with such quali- 
fications as few men have pos- 
sessed for the office. As between 
himself and the President, there 
was a clear case of friendship. 
Garfield had always been an ad- 
mirer of Blaine and a supporter 
of his measures. True, he had 
finally accepted, not without grati- 
fication and pride, the prize which 
had seemed to belong to his com- 
petitor. But he could not well 
blame himself for the turn in 
affairs which had brought this 
about. It would seem that Blaine 
was reasonable enough to take the 
same view of the case, aud it is 
not evident that he ever held 
Garfield responsible for wearing 
his laurels. At all events, he 
threw himself with might and 
spirit into the administration, and became almost immediately the leading figure 
of the Government, hardly excepting the President himself. 

In other parts of this work we have referred once and again to the 
condition of affairs during the brief and suddenly eclipsed administration of 
Garfield. Though the assassin's bullet struck the President, it also hit the 
political purposes and career of the Secretary of State. He, too, went down 
with his chieftain though not immediate^. The beginning of the year 18S2 
found him at what would appear to have been the end of the way. He 
resigned from the cabinet of Arthur to become a private citizen. His health 
was somewhat impaired ; it may well be supposed that his disappointments 




CHESTER A. ARTHUR. 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



143 



preyed upon him ; his nervous energies were somewhat exhausted with the 

excessive application which had marked his public life. In another chapter we 

shall follow him into his retiracy and note the events, personal and public, 

that belonged to that 

part of his career. _^-^"-. \.y ft" 

For the present we 

pass on to consider his 

next struggle for the 

presidency of the 

United States. 

The return of the ^ 
presidential year, 1884, 
brought many changes 
in the political condi- 
tions that had formerly 
prevailed. General 
Grant was in private 
life. John Sherman had 
emerged somewhat into 
prominence as a possi- 
bility in the approach- 
ing campaign. Presi- 
dent Arthur and his 
friends had great 
hopes that he might 
secure the nomination 
to the place which he 
had occupied by the 
accident of Garfield's 
death. It was at this 
time that the fatal in- 
fluence of the office- 
holding classes was 
first manifested in full 
force in the attempt 
to perpetuate the ad- 
ministration and there- 
by to save themselves 
from ouster. 

Strangely enough, Blaine was as 
ever; indeed he was more prominent and -popular than he had been in 1876 
or 1880. Several other names were now before the people; but the great 
name was that of Blaine. His life in the interim had done much to establish 




FROM CANAL-BOY TO THE 
PRESIDENCY. 



prominent 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



145 



and confirm hirn iu popular esteem. Just after his retiracy from office, iu the 
Arthur administration, he had been called, February twenty-seventh, 1882, to 
deliver the funeral oration on Garfield. This address was given in the House 
of Representatives and was accepted as the best and truest summary and 
eulogium of the martyred President. 

On his retirement to private life, Blaine at once took up the preparation 
of a literary work which he had contemplated for some years. This was the 
composition of a history of the National Congress for the twenty years from 
Lincoln to Garfield (1861-1881). He now established himself in his own 
home at Washington and set about the work, to which he devoted fully two 



'i^v/ ;'i^^ x -^^7 ? >^^ap^p^ 







'Cfr 



THE CHICAGO CONVENTION NOMINATING THE 



PLUMED KNIGHT EOR THE PRESIDENCY. 



years of time in the composition of the first volume. This volume appeared 
early in 1S84, and was welcomed by the public as a work of great strength, 
impartiality and historical merit. To the surprise of most people, all 
partisanship had disappeared, and the author presented himself as a dis- 
passionate historian, treating the events of his time with the fairness and 
judicial accuracy of one who had been conscientiously trained to the pro- 
fession of letters. Another astonishing feature of the book was the fact that 
the references to himself and to his own part in the governmental affairs of 
his day were made few and of smaller importance than they deserved. His 
personal competitors in public life were treated in a spirit of generosity and 



146 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

justice, for which we should look in vain in nearly all the similar works 
which have been composed by those who were participants in the affairs 
recorded. 

It is not possible for an author to know the cogitations and inner intent 
of another whose character he may be delineating. Blaine pursued his own 
course in the years 1882-1884 ; he completed his first volume, gave it to the 
public, and presently his name was again ringing on the public tongue as the 
probable nominee of the Republican party for the presidency. Such was the 
situation of affairs when the presidential j-ear came around. Other names put 
forward for the nomination were those of John A. Logan, of Illinois ; Joseph 
R. Hawley, of Connecticut; George F. Edmunds, of Vermont; Benjamin 
Harrison, of Indiana, and President Chester A. Arthur. 

The Republican National Convention met on the third of June, 1884, 
in the Exposition Building at Chicago. The temporary chairmanship was 
given to John R. Lynch, a colored man of Mississippi. The permanent 
chairmanship was assigned to Honorable John B. Henderson, of Missouri. 
The platform of the party was prepared, endorsing the administration of 
Arthur, declaring against the tariff policy of the Democratic party and in 
favor of the protective system, endorsing civil service reform, denouncing 
Southern outrages and appealing to the people in support of Republican 
principles. It was noticed from the beginning of the proceedings that on 
every occasion, or no occasion at all, the name of Blaine or any reference to 
that statesman or his State, provoked the unbounded enthusiasm of the 
convention. 

The duty of putting Blaine in nomination was assigned to the blind Judge 
West, of Ohio, whose speech on the occasion almost rivaled that of Ingersoll 
in the enthusiasm which it produced. The other candidates were also well 
presented ; but it was clear that Blaine was the favorite. The speech of Judge 
West was answered without and within the hall with ringing and continuous 
cheers. When the balloting began, it was evident that the man from Maine 
was the favorite, if not the immediate winner. The first ballot gave him three 
hundred and thirty-four votes ; Arthur received two hundred and seventy-eight ; 
Edmunds, ninety-three ; Logan, sixty-three; Sherman, thirty, with the rest scat- 
tering. On the second and third ballots there were but slight changes. These, 
however, pointed to Blaine. On the fourth ballot he received five hundred and 
forty-four votes and was nominated. The scene that ensued beggared descrip- 
tion. The shout which announced the result was taken up and echoed through 
the city. Mr. Blaine was himself at his home in Augusta. He received the 
dispatch announcing his nomination, while swinging in a hammock between 
his apple trees. Immediately his house became a public place, and thither 
pilgrims and adventurers set their faces from all directions. Among the 
touching incidents of the day was the receipt, from Mrs. Garfield, of the following 
dispatch : 




STRIKING INCIDENTS IN MR. BLAINE'S CAREER. 



148 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

" Cleveland, Ohio, June 8, 1884. 

''Mrs. James G. Blaine: The household joins in one great thanksgiving. 
From the quiet of onr home we send the most earnest wish that, through the 
turbulent months to follow and in the day of victory, you may all be guarded and 
kept. 

" Lucretia R. Garfield." 

The official notification of his nomination was soon carried to Blaine at his 
home, and was delivered by Honorable John B. Henderson, chairman of the 
convention. At the conclusion of the address Mr. Blaine responded as follows : 
" Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen of the National Committee : 

" I receive not without deep sensibility your official notice of the action of 
the National Convention already brought to my knowledge through the public 
press. I appreciate more profoundly than I can express the honor which is 
implied in a nomination for the presidency by the Republican party of the 
nation speaking through the authoritative voice of duly accredited delegates. 
To be selected as a candidate by such an assemblage from the list of eminent 
statesmen whose names were presented fills me with embarrassment. I can only 
express my gratitude for so signal an honor and my earnest desire to prove 
worth} 7 of the great trust reposed in me. 

" In accepting the nomination, as I now do, I am impressed, I might almost 
say oppressed, with a sense of the labor and responsibilitv which attach to im- 
position. The burden is lightened, however, by the hosts of earnest men who 
support my candidacy, many of whom add as does your honorable committee 
the cheer of personal friendship to the pledge of political fealty. 

" A more formal acceptance will naturally be expected and will in due season 
be communicated. It may, however, not be inappropriate at this time to sav 
that I have already made careful study of the principles announced by the 
National Convention, and that in the whole and in detail they have my heartiest 
sympathy and meet my unqualified approval. 

" Apart from your official errand, gentlemen, I am extremelv happ} 7 to welcome 
you all to my home. With many of you I have already shared the duties ofthe 
public service and have enjoyed the most cordial friendship. I trust your journey 
from all parts of the great Republic has been agreeable, and that during your 
stay in Maine you will feel that you are not among strangers, but with friends. 
Invoking the blessing of God upon the great cause which we jointly represent, 
let us turn to the future without fear and with manly hearts." 

It is not our purpose in this connection to enlarge upon the incidents of 
the campaign of 1884. The nomination of the Democracy was given to Grover 
Cleveland, of New York. The second place on the Republican ticket was 
assigned to John A. Logan, of Illinois, and the corresponding position on the 
Democratic ticket to Thomas A. Hendricks, of Indiana. The tickets were 
strong; but each was assailed with great bitterness by the adherents of the 
other. No stone was left unturned to carry the contest and at times, what 




BLAINE S CONTEST FOR THE PRESIDENCY. 



150 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



ought to have been a national debate, degenerated into gross personalities and 
personal scandals. Such things were hard enough to bear during the months 
of their utterance ; but if we mistake not, the disease thereby cured itself in the 
public life of the United States. The cure was not effected on moral grounds, 
but rather for political reasons. It was found that the good sense of the Amer- 
ican people would no longer approve or even tolerate the mendacity and 
inconsequential slander which the party press of each side poured upon the 
candidate of the other. The nation was disgraced in the melee and for no 
good. The filthy work was wholly ineffectual. It did not diminish the vote of 
either candidate to augment the vote of the other. 

The canvass went on in obedience to its own laws. The battle was hotly 
fought along the whole line. Mr. Blaine took the field abroad and traversed 
several of the doubtful States. He spoke at many points in Indiana and New 
York, and concluded his canvass in the metropolis. This was the realty fatal 

circumstance in his career. It cannot be doubted 
that if he had stayed away from the city and thus 
avoided the incidents of his visit there, he would 
have been elected to the presidency. Upon so slight 
circumstances do the destinies of the most distin- 
guished leaders of society sometimes turn. 

Just at the close of the contest, Mr. Blaine 
was received by his party in New York City and 
was there entertained at a banquet. During his stay 
in the city there were delegations and speeches 
galore. Along with the rest a certain address was 
delivered to him or rather at him (for the sequel 
showed that he did not hear it), which proved the 
bane of the battle and indeed of his whole political 
life. A certain Reverend Burchard, availing himself 
of the occasion, poured out a fusillade of nonsense 
and impropriety, in the course of which he char- 
acterized the Democratic party as being the party of " Rum, Romanism and 
Rebellion." The Rum and the Rebellion might have been borne, but the 
Romanism was not to be tolerated. New York is strongly a Catholic city. 
Catholicism has its hold in the tremendous Irish and other foreign populations of 
the great emporium. Mr. Blaine had himself always been a friend and champion 
of Ireland, and quite a percentage of the Irish vote had been in preparation 
for his benefit. Had he received his due proportion of ballots from this source 
he would have carried New York and with it the presidency. But the Bur- 
chard business was a bomb at the door of every Catholic church. Every bomb 
was diligently exploded. If the Democratic party is the party of Romanism, 
then that party is our party ! So ran the hot logic of the hour. Vainly did 
Blaine and his friends disclaim the impolitic and absurd alliteration of Burchard. 




JOHN A. LOGAN. 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



151 



,, I, , t y .i 







/ 



The thing stuck like pitch and burnt wherever it fell. The result was the 
decrease of the Republican vote in New York City and the increase of the 
Democratic vote. The change turned the ballot, and the State of New York 
was carried by the Democracy by the trifling majority of one thousand and 
forty-seven votes. As New York went so went the Union. Cleveland was 
elected to the presidency and the prospect of Blaine to reach the White House 
was forever blasted. The incident of the Burchard speech was, perhaps, the 
most insignificant and withal absurd of any that ever turned the destinies of 
great men and great events awry. 

It could but be that his defeat for the presidential office was a severe blow 
to Blaine. He was again driven 
back upon those resources which 
were inherent in himself. He 
had now been for more than 
twenty years a resident of Wash- 
ington City. He had, of course, 
never given up his old home in 
Augusta. A part of the year he 
was wont to reside at the latter 
place, and the greater part at the 
Capital. The summer invited him 
to the quiet of his Maine resi- 
dence ; while the excitement and 
interest of Washington City could 
hardly be put aside for the winter. 

In the interval which followed 
his defeat for the presidency, he 
resumed his work on his his- 
tory of Congress. The remark- 
able thing about the career of 
Blaine has been the spontaneous 
revival of public interest in him, 
notwithstanding his defeats. The 
analogy of his life in this respect with that of Clay is again conspicuous. The 
interest of the people followed both of these statesmen persistently through every 
phase of their lives, from the time at which they entered upon their public 
career to the close. 

We might also say that the loss of the presidency to the distinguished 
aspirant was compensated by the work which he was able to accomplish in the second 
volume of his history of Congress. That work was duly completed. 
The manner and temper of the author were shown in the same favorable light 
as in the first volume, and his reputation was correspondingly enhanced. Here 
was a man who, in spite of the storm and battle of public life, could treat 




BLAINE IN 1884. 



152 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

dispassionately the very subjects in the shaping of which he had had a hand 
by both conquest and defeat. The history which he produced of the public life 
of the nation, from the accession of Lincoln to the accession of Garfield, was at 
once complete and impartial. As the old philosopher said of the eccentric but 
accomplished Goldsmith, Blaine touched almost every kind of subject and 
" touched nothing which he did not adorn." Meanwhile his interest in public 
affairs continued as before. 

It is said that on a single occasion General Grant weakened. The world 
knows that his policy was that of silence. He lived through evil report and 
good, and said nothing. General Sherman once and again took up his leader's 
cause in the public press, adding that " Grant, as usual, would say nothing." 
But in one instance the common humanity asserted itself. When he was 
going out to the porch of the Capitol for his second inauguration, backed by 
the tremendous majority which had again given him the presidency, and feeling 
secure in the enduring confidence of his countrymen, the General said, referring 
to his address which he had in hand, " here is my answer to their slanders." 
After his defeat for the presidency Blaine, in one instance, seems to have given 
away to the rush of feeling and resentment which he naturally enough enter- 
tained. Soon after the result of the election was known, he made a speech 
at home in Augusta, in which he furiously assailed the Democratic party in 
both its methods and principles. He charged that party with having carried 
the election by the deliberate suppression of the Republican vote in the South- 
ern States. With his usual cogency he brought forth the statistics of the 
election, and proved with cold figures that the electors in the Southern States 
had received on the average only about one-half or one-third as many ballots 
as had been cast for the presidential electors chosen from the Northern 
States. 

This led to the inevitable deduction that the election had been unfair and 
prejudiced against the Republican party and its candidate. The speech was 
strong and somewhat embittered. It produced a marked impression on the 
public mind, and was read and commented upon throughout the length and 
breadth of the land. As a matter of fact, there could be but one adequate 
answer to his arraignment of the policy and system of the Democratic party ; 
that is, but one answer that might tend to show the equity of President Cleve- 
land's election, and that was that the latter had received a clear and unequi- 
vocal popular majority over his competitor. 

In the year 1886 we find Mr. Blaine again actively in the political field. 
The election of that year was important. It seemed evident that if the Demo- 
cratic success of the presidential year should be followed up by great majorities 
in the congressional year, the Republican party would be virtually extinguished. 
It was, therefore, necessary that the latter party should make a strong rally in 
1886, and reassert itself in the election of an increased number of Congressmen. 
Blaine was always proud of his own State, and made it a point of honor that 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 153 

Maine should, on every occasion, hold her place steadily in the Republican 
column and, when necessary, swell her majorities to the highest figure. 

On the twenty-fourth of August, 1SS6, Blaine opened the campaign of that 
year in an able speech which he delivered at Sebago Lake. He took up the 
question of the fisheries, in which New England had the greatest intei'est ; also 
the tariff question, and finally the third part}- movement, which then portended 
considerable inroads in the Republican ranks. The Prohibitionists had become 
active, particularly in the so-called " off-years," and there were grounds for 
fearing that the Republican vote in Maine would suffer on this account. Blaine's 
speech attacked and criticised the administration on . its attitude towards the 
fishing interest of the country, and presented in full force the argument for 
protection as against free trade. 

It might be noticed, however, even at this early day, that Blaine's views 
were not so extreme on the question of the tariff as were those of the men 
who had assumed the duty of speaking for the Republican party. From this 
time forth, the attitude of Blaine on this great question became more and more 
moderate until, in the heyday of McKinleyism, he sent forth his public letters, 
which had the effect to arrest the headlong course of the extremists and to 
introduce the term and the fact of reciprocitv into the phraseology and policy 
of his party. He continued to speak successfully during the campaign of 1886 
and had the pleasure of seeing his work crowned with a fair measure of success. 
What appeared to be the disintegration of his party was arrested, and the 
Republican forces were brought into shape for the presidential campaign 
of 1888. 

Would Blaine again be a candidate for the nomination of his party ? That 
appeared doubtful. Public interest in regard to his action was universal. It 
was foreseen that President Cleveland would receive the Democratic nomination 
for re-election; but would his old competitor stand against him, or would some 
other be taken as possibly more available ? For man}' months the question 
remained in doubt. Conjectures were published for facts, and deductions given 
out as statements that had no other foundation than the cogitations of those 
who produced them. Mr. Blaine, at this time, namely, in 1S87, was traveling 
abroad. The presidential year came on apace and it was necessary that the 
Republican management should know the purpose of Blaine before proceeding 
with the arrangements for the ensuing campaign. It was already conceded that 
if Blaine desired a renomination he could have it. Here, indeed, was a spectacle. 
Three times the name of this statesman had been before the conventions of his 
party. Once he had received the nomination, only to be defeated at the polls. 
Still the spell of his name was so great that it was admitted, at the beginning 
of 1888, even bjr those who were most reluctant to admit it, that if Blaine wanted 
the nomination at the next convention he had only to lift his hand. It must 
be granted that the political fealty of the majority of a party to one of its 
leaders had never gone further than this and cannot. 



154 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

When the crisis came Mr. Blaine was at Florence, Italy. He finally made 
np his mind not to permit the use of his name in candidature for the presidency. 
He accordingly, at what seemed to be the desire of his party, wrote what was 
known as the " Florence Letter," which was one of the sensations of the day. 
Even in spite of this, so intense was the part) 7 spirit with which he was 
supported, not a few of his admirers kept his name flying as their favorite at 
the approaching Chicago convention. Bnt the statesman held on his course. 
Completing his Italian tour, he went to Scotland and was doing the North 
country when the National Convention was held in Chicago. 

The reader knows the result. Blaine's name was not presented to the 
convention ; but his influence surcharged the air and it was a possible thing 
that at any moment a spontaneous Blaine uproar might break out in the 
convention hall and sweep everything before it. The condition of affairs was 
such as might well provoke the other candidates whose names were given to 
the convention, and confound all political calculations. 

We need not here narrate the story of the Chicago convention of 1SS8. 
John Sherman, of Ohio, was' a prominent candidate, and had the endorsement 
of his great State. Judge Walter Q. Gresham, of Illinois, was also prominent 
before the body. Governor Alger, of Michigan, Senator Allison, of Iowa, andl 
ex-Senator Benjamin Harrison, of Indiana, were the other leading competitors. 
The choice, after much balloting and contention, fell to the last named, and hel 
was successful in the contest against President Cleveland. Blaine had mean-f 
while returned to the United States, given his endorsement to the nomination | 
of Harrison, and contributed powerfully to his success by urging his personal! 
adherents everywhere to the cordial support of the ticket. 

The reasons of Blaine's declining to be a candidate for renomination in 
1888 have been diligently sought by politicians and the newspaper press, both] 
backed by universal curiosity. If we mistake not, the great prevailing reason 
was the condition of the statesman's health. Blaine's health had clearly become 
precarious. His high nervous organization and intense application to business 
and ambition for so many years had made inroads into an otherwise sound 
constitution, and had laid the seeds of premature old age. It was already clear,! 
before he had reached his fifty-fifth year, that he was not destined to long life.) 
There has seemed to be a misapprehension in the public mind on this subject. 
Blaine really broke early. He did so under pressure of mental and physicali 
conditions against which the stoutest spirit could hardly prevail. If he hadfl 
been a phlegmatic man he would probably have lived much longer ; but he was i 
anything rather than phlegmatic. He was keenly alive in every part, and for 
this reason his bodily powers were the sooner exhausted. 

Besides this fundamental reason of impaired health and dread of then 
inevitable strain to which he would be subjected should he be again the \i 
standard-bearer of his part) 7 , there were other considerations which held hirnj 
back. If we mistake not, Blaine did not expect, beforehand, the success of the' 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



155 



Republican presidential ticket in 1888. He, like many others, came to expect 
success with the progress of the campaign. It was a striking illustration of the 
vicissitudes of public opinion in the United States, when the sentiment of the 
people gradually, during the summer months, went over to Harrison. That 
statesman was the beneficiary of great good fortune. It might almost be said 
that he reaped where he had not sown, and gathered where he had not strewn. 
Circumstances brought him to the presidency. The protected industries of the 
country must have it so. Ac- 
cordingly it was so. The seem- 
ingly invincible Cleveland went 
back in defeat, and was in his 
turn forced to abide his time. 

One of the inevitable conse- 
quences, or, at least, certain de- 
ductions, of the election of 
Harrison was the appointment of 
Blaine as Secretary of State. 
His former career in that office 
had been cut short by Guiteau's 
bullet ; now he must serve out 
his term and verify his policies 
by the international test. We do 
not intend, in this connection, to 
recite his work as Secretary of 
State, aiming only in the present 
chapter to narrate so much as 
relates to Blaine's contests for 
the presidency. He remained in 
the State Department until near 
the close of the Harrison admin- 
istration. More properly, he held 
the place until it became evident 
to everybody that his friends, 
whether he will or nill, would 
present his name to the Republican National Convention of 1892. 

True, he had declined such use of his name. He never encouraged or 
promoted the project of having himself again brought into the arena. It is 
clear in the retrospect that his enfeebled health forbade it. But his following 
would have it so. Blaine was virtually driven out of the cabinet. What should 
he do? Should he remain there and be a target for animadversions and the 
subject of endless bickerings ? Certainly it was not pleasant for him to go out. 
To do so was finally to terminate his political career. No man likes to give 
himself the quietus. In the Orient the taking of one's own life is looked upon 




156 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

as a commendable thing by the public, and even the taker comes, under dis- 
cipline and ethnic instinct, to regard it as reputable and famous. But the 
Occident does not have it so. Here the man must live as long and as famously 
as he can. Sad is the last eclipse ! Let it come as it may, the over-spreading 
darkness is disagreeable, and most disagreeable to the highest and most 
capacious minds. 

It was already the eve of the Republican National Convention at Minne- 
apolis when Blaine retired from the Harrison cabinet. It was too late ! All 
tilings were now prevalent against him. His fame flared up fitfully at the 
convention and then went out. The officeholders were now in league against 
him. They saw in him the setting sun. Of all officeholders it ma}' be most 
truthfully said, as was aforetime said of our race in general, orientem solem 
colunt ; they worship the rising sun and with good reasons ! The ox knoweth 
his master's crib ! 

It were hard to say whether this last fitful and unsuccessful presentation of 
the name of Blaine to the National Convention of his party were not an error. 
Blaine could not have borne the stress of another presidential contest. Chaos 
would perhaps have come again as the result of his nomination. True, his 
policy of reciprocity gave to the platform of his party, in the year 1892, its 
only element of strength. It is also true, if we mistake not, that the presen- 
tation of his name as the candidate of that party would have evoked a popular 
enthusiasm, the absence of which was the one noticeable fact in the contest 
for the re-election of Harrison. But all this is in the nature of conjecture. 
We see clearly only the fact that Blaine was constrained to retire from his 
cabinet place in the administration of which he had been the mainstay and element 
of fame, and that he was, without good reason, forced rather ingloriously into 
the Minneapolis convention, only to be beaten and to witness the extinction 
of the now flickering political torch which he had so long and gloriously held 
aloft. 

Such was the hard discipline and fate of his last days. It could not be said 
that after this final overthrow he went into obscurity ; for that could not be 
true of such a character. Not even the grave can obscure the light of some 
men's lives. Their principles and actions are of a kind to survive, for a while, 
the end of life and to shine with the glow of warmth and radiance, at least 
for a brief season, in the pages of their country's history. 




CHAPTER VI. 



IN SENATE AND CABINET. 



E shall attempt in this chapter to say something 
about the life of Blaine in the Senate and the 
cabinet. He entered the former body in the 
summer of 1876. It was the last year of General 
Grant in the presidency. The Centennial Ex- 
position at Philadelphia was in full blast. The 
scars of the Civil War were beginning to dis- 
appear from the features and heart of the nation. 
Political life was in some sense as turbulent as 
ever. But from this time forth partisans and 
parties were obliged to make, rather than find, the 
issues about which they were contending. 

One thing we may note clearly and that is, the 
appearance at this period of those great industrial and 
economic questions which constitute the vital part in 
the political divisions of our time. We are here within 
one year of the great railroad strike by which the overland commerce of the 
United States was, for a while, prostrated as the result of cupidity and tyrann}' 
on the one side, and the irrational half-lawlessness of the wronged laborers on 
the other. 

We may remark upon the changed atmosphere as one passes from the 
House of Representatives to the Senate of the United States. The latter is 
pre-eminently a grave and decorous body of representatives. It is almost feudal 
in its dignity. The members are few in number. They represent great com- 
monwealths in their organized capacity. They stand for States, and are thus 
removed by a little from the democracy of the people proper. The body is as 
deliberate as it is deliberative. It is to the good name of the American people 
that there is little unseemly or really factious in the Senate of the Republic. 
Webster said of it proudly, " This is a Senate of equals." 

No part of this description can well apply to the House of Representatives. 
That body has been called, not without wit, the Cave of the Winds. Certainly 
the observer might sometimes think that ^Eolus had really, in the Virgilian 
fashion, struck the mountain with the butt of his spear. It was a conceit of 
Don Piatt that first discovered this analogy of the House to the ^Eolian cavern. 
The House roars. It excites itself to an unusual degree. It is capable of all 
emotions and passions. It is capable of eccentricity and of such foolishness as 
might be expected only on the ball ground of a country school. 

(157) 



158 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

This is not to say that the House does not possess great abilities ; for the 
greatest are seen in that arena. But it is a stormy place. The waters rush 
in and rush out. There are whirls of quicksand here and there, in which the 
unwary are suddenly swallowed. When that happens there is a laugh. The 
inscription, " No. Mercy Here," might well be put up over the door. The cloak 
rooms are full of smoke and counterplot. A struggle is always on. A vast 
constituency seems always to be peering over the railing, or looking down 
from the gallery. 

It was in this school of turmoil, hazard and vicissitude that Blaine was 
educated for statesmanship. There he became adroit, prudent, shrewd. If any 
one was ever to be caught napping, it was not the Representative from the 
Augusta district of Maine. 

Now, at length, after nearly fourteen years of service, that Representative 
retires from the arena where he had won his laurels and enters upon a five 
years' term of service in the cooler and quieter chamber of the Senate. They 
who entered the latter body come either with or without preparation. The last 
years have seen a number in the category of the wholly unprepared. If history 
should take the Vice-President's chair and call the senatorial roll in these days, 
when men, in the green stage of millionism, grow suddenly great and obtrude 
themselves where they have no business, not a few would be obliged to answer, 
" Unprepared, madame ! " 

For the rest, the preparation varies much according to circumstances. 
Webster was prepared in one way, Clay and Benton in another ; Sumner came 
with one kind of discipline, Morton with another, and Logan with another. 
Blaine came, with a preparation peculiarly his own. It might be difficult, in 
the now lengthening list of Senators, to find oue who, on the whole, was more 
thoroughly equipped for the senatorial office than was the man from Maine. 
He had a large measure of scholarship to begin with. He had great capabili- 
ties as a public speaker. He had vast knowledge of affairs, both national and 
international. He knew the political history of his country by heart. He was 
a learned and experienced parliamentarian. It may be said that he had too 
much wit and vivacity for a Senator; but this shocking superabundance of 
intellect and humor was compensated by the cooling effects of more than twenty 
years of public life. There was no antecedent reason why Senator Blaine, from 
the first day of his appearance in the upper chamber, should not be, as Inger- 
soll had then but recently declared him to be already, " A leader of leaders." 

The event proved to be so. It may be agreed that Blaine did not become 
so pre-eminent relatively in the Senate as he had been in the House. Senators 
are not disposed to brook that kind of ascendancy which their colleague from 
Maine had long enjoyed among the Representatives. Nevertheless, he was 
pre-eminent in the Senate as he must needs be everywhere. If we are to estimate 
his influence in the country at large, that was not augmented by his transference 
to the Upper House. This is not to say that his influence was not increased 



160 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

and extended ; bnt the same was dne to other considerations, such as a growing- 
belief in his abilities as a statesman and in the improvement of his public 
character, by the lengthening and deepening discipline of his life. 

Blaine went into the Senate in the midst of the presidential canvass of 
1876. The reader knows the result of that contest and the story of the Elec- 
toral Commission. The contest relative to the same came on in the first months 
of Blaine's service. Leadership for and against the measure was mostly left to 
others. Blaine has, himself, in his history of Congress, summed up the result 
of the battle for the presidency. In that work he shows from the evidence that 
the agents of the Democratic party in the contested States of Florida, South 
Carolina and Oregon had made an illegal effort to alter the returns, so as to 
make it appear that Tildeu, and not Hayes, had carried the States. He also 
deduces as a conclusion that bribery on a prodigious scale had been attempted 
by these agents. But he exculpates Mr. Tilden himself from the responsibility 
of an attempted crime. The author also enforces, with a vehemence from which 
sarcasm is not wholly wanting, the allegation that the party which had 
flourished under the name of " reform " had thus shown itself most capable of 
dishonesty and corruption. 

One of the first questions of great interest which Mr. Blaine had to face 
a question of vast and international importance was that of the remonetization 
of silver. This question was the great issue before the Forty-fifth Congress 
It might be well in this connection to review once more the subject from the 
standpoint of history and truth. The controversy has been so long continued 
and so hotly waged, that the people of the United States are not as yet, and may 
not be for a score of years, prepared to hear the truth as it ought to be told 
respecting the demonetization and the remonetization of silver. 

At the date of the publication of this volume, the battle still goes on 
Remonetization has never been completely effected. It seems to be doubtful 
whether it will be or can be on terms of equity and justice. In other countries 
and under other conditions, the creditor and fund-holding classes have always 
carried the day against the debtor and industrial classes. The former are few 
the latter are many. 

The simple facts in the present case are these : The bonded debt of the 
United States was originally purchased with a paper currency. That papeii 
currency was at the time largely depreciated as compared with the price of 
coin. It became easy to see how vast a gain would accrue to the holders of 
the national debt, and indeed to all the creditor classes of the country, if, in tk 
matter of payment, the coin dollar could be substituted for the paper dollar i: 
which the purchase had been made. 

So inexperienced were the people of the United States in transactions 
this kind that nobody or but very few took the alarm. Under the specio 
phrase of resuming specie payments, and under the argument and protestation o: 
national honesty, the act for the resumption of specie payments was passed. The: 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 161 

it was that bond-holding and all credit-holding became enormously profitable. 
The value of the dollar in which all credit was expressed, gradually, day by day, 
and night by night, week and month and year together, grew; so that any 
nominal payments that were made on the principal of debts, public and private, 
were constantly counterbalanced by the increasing value of the unit in which all 
debt was expressed. 

At last, in the beginning of 1879, the dollar of coin and the dollar of paper 
came to a common value. This was effected by a series of legislative acts, 
which we need not here enumerate. Suffice it to say that the resumption of 
specie payments, after four years' notice, was effected on the first day of January, 
1879. 

It would seem that this ought to have satisfied the holders of the public 
debt, and indeed all creditors, whatsoever. But it did not. As soon as it was 
seen that ultimately specie payment would be effected in coin, then began the 
tinkering with the coin ! Now, since we have got our coin in payment for a 
debt that was contracted in paper, the next best thing is to have that coin 
worth more than it was when the debt was contracted, or, indeed, more than it 
ever was. 

The coin of the United States consists of two parts, a silver part and a 
gold part. It has been so from the foundation of the Government. We have 
always had the system of bi-metallism, which is simply a concession to the 
debtor that he shall enjoy the valuable option of paying freely in the cheaper 
of two metals or the more convenient, as the case may be. Now, if this 
option could adroitly be taken away, how great would be the gain to all those 
who are to be paid dollars ! He who is to be paid a dollar wants a great 
dollar ; not a small dollar ; not even a dollar of the contract, but as great a 
dollar as possible. 

Under the casuistical reckonings, the American silver dollar was struck 
from the mints. Homer begins the Iliad by apostrophizing the muse to sing 
to him the direful cause of the woes of Greece. Here we have it ! It was 
the adroit and nefarious scheme by which one-half of the coin potency of the 
people of the United States was struck away, even when they didn't know it [ 
At length, however, they did know it, and then came an upheaval that swept 
all before it. The proposition to remonetize silver at the old latio with gold 
brought out long-continued and stormy debates. The advantage in the 
argument was wholly with those who advocated the free coinage of the silver 
dollar. This, however, was against the interest of the fund-holding classes. 
In politics it has always been dangerous to antagonize such classes, as in a 
free country it is also ultimately dangerous to antagonize the industrial and 
producing classes. 

Blaine in the Senate found himself beaten between these two forces. 
Embarrassed by the situation, he sought a middle ground some ground that 
would be fairly tolerable to the sentiments of both parties in the controversy. 



162 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

He delivered a speech in the Senate on the thesis " That gold and silver are 
the money of the Constitution, the money in existence when the Constitution 
was formed, and Congress has the right to regulate their relations." It is 
easy for the reader to see the stress of the situation, which would demand 
this kind of inconsequential argument from a statesman of Blaine's capacity. 
In his speech he advocated the coinage of " such a silver dollar as will not 
only do justice among our citizens at home, but prove an absolute barricade 
against the gold mono-metallists." He took the ground also that the standard 
silver dollar of three hundred and seventy-one and one-fourth grains of pure 
silver would not make such a dollar as would prove a barricade against the 
advocates of a gold standard only. In a word, the argument of Blaine was 
and the same may be noted with peculiar interest, after the lapse of fifteen 
3'ears that a new silver dollar of greater value than the old one should be 
substituted therefor. This, of course, would imply that the silver standard 
should be altered and adjusted to the gold standard, and this is not 
bi-metallism at all, but mono-metallism. Nevertheless, the position taken by 
Blaine in the debates on the silver question was as prudent and politic as 
might well have been discovered under the circumstances. 

On nearly all of the questions before the Senate, during the after half of 
the eighth decade, Blaine had something to say in a measure of deter- 
minative influence. As he became experienced, certain subjects of the vastest 
interest absorbed his attention and became the subject-matter of his subsequent 
policy. Of those subjects, one of the most important was that of the 
restoration of the commerce of the United States. Time had been, as late as 
the middle of the sixth decade, only five years before the outbreak of the 
Civil War, when the merchant marine of the United States had, by its 
expansion and prosperity, come into strong competition with that of England 
on the high seas. It appears, however, that before the shock of our great 
conflict, the premonition of a decline in our foreign commerce was felt ; that 
is, in the tonnage of our ships and their siiccess in competition. Now it was 
that sailing vessels began to yield to steamships. Iron took the place of wood 
as the principal material in the building of vessels. There came a day of 
speed and of cheap fuel, and of man}' other changes in the conditions of 
navigation and commerce. 

Mr. Blaine has himself, in his history of Congress, admirably sum- 
marized these conditions and at the same time expressed the beginning of 
his anxiety for a restoration of the supremacy of the United States in the 
carrying trade of the world. He there shows that after 1856 a loss of 2 per 
cent annually had been incurred by the navigation of the United States. At the 
epoch of the civil war this rate of loss had risen higher and higher, until American 
commerce was almost obliterated. He showed in the next place that literally 
nothing had been done to recover the ground which our country had lost in her 
maritime enterprises. He enlarges upon the history of American commerce ; 



164 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

shows some particular facts relative to our commerce with Brazil ; gives 
an account of the attempt of John Roach, the Irish- American ship-builder, to 
establish steamship lines between our country and the Brazilian Empire ; arraigns 
the Democratic party in Congress for its alleged hostility to the efforts which 
had been put forth to restore the commerce of the United States, and points out 
with great force the natural advantages which the United States enjoyed for the 
establishment and maintenance of a great mercantile marine. He calls atten- 
tion to the fact that in the past sixteen years the Government of the United 
States had expended more than three hundred millions on the navy, and 
scarcely three millions in the attempt to build up the commercial marine of 
the country ! 

The subject thus presented in Mr. Blaine's writings became ever 
more important in his estimation. It was in his nature to fret at any 
disparagement of his country. If he did not positively fret at the loss of his 
country's prestige on the sea, he at least seriously and nervously considered 
the question with a view to the remedy of the evil. 

The praise of Blaine as a legislator has respect in particular to his 
unequivocal patriotism. He wished to see his country established and con- 
firmed in her greatness. He wished to contribute to her pre-eminence among 
the nations, and to devise such measures as should make her forever secure in 
her primacy. The great part of his work in the Senate was in support of such 
policies as he deemed requisite to the consolidation of American influence among 
the nations of the world. 

It was for the existence of such a sentiment and its activity in his nature 
that he took so strong a part with respect to the Halifax Fisheries Award. 
Perhaps the worst example of a deep-laid scheme to beat a great nation of 
people ever devised in the somewhat cunning diplomacy of ministers was that 
which resulted in the award of five and one-half million dollars in gold coin 
against the United States and in favor of Great Britain for the very dubious 
advantage of the former in the matter of our northern fisheries. 

The award was one of the issues of the great Treaty of Washington. The 
article of the treaty on which the matter turned was XXII., as follows: "In- 
asmuch as it is asserted by the Government of Her Britannic Majesty that 
the privileges accorded to the citizens of the United States under Article XVIII. 
of this treaty are of greater value than those accorded by Articles XIX. and 
XXI. of this treaty to the subjects of Her Britannic Majesty, and this asser- 
tion is not admitted by the Government of the United States, it is further 
agreed that commissioners shall be appointed to determine, having regard to 
the privileges accorded by the United States to the subjects of Her Britannic 
Majesty, as stated in Articles XIX. and XXI. of this treaty, the amount of any 
compensation which in their opinion ought to be paid by the Government of 
the United States to the Government of Her Britannic Majesty in return for 
the privileges accorded to the citizens of the United States under Article XVIIL 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 165 

of this treaty; and that any sum of money which the said commissioners may 
so award shall be paid by the United States Government in a gross sum, 
within twelve months after such award shall have been given." 

The Treaty of Washington also prescribed the manner in which three 
commissioners should be appointed to determine the possible amount of such 
payment, should any be made, by the United States to Great Britain. One 
commissioner was to be appointed by the President of the United States ; one 
by Her Britannic Majesty, and the third by concurrence of the President and 
the Queen. But, should these two distinguished personages, or rather the 
Governments which they represented, be unable to agree on the third commis- 
sioner, then the choice of the third should rest with the Austrian Ambassador 
at the Court of St. James. Why it was left to him is one of the inscrutable 
things which must be revealed from diplomatical histoty at the last day. 

The reader is perhaps informed as the result of the contest for the third 
commissioner. Great Britain got him. The Count Von Beust named Mr. 
Maurice Delfosse, Minister of Belgium, resident at Washington. Mr. Blaine has 
himself happily pointed out the extraordinary character of this appointment. It 
would have been impossible perhaps to name any prominent statesman, not 
himself a British subject, who was more likely to make an award in favor of 
Great Britain than the person chosen in the arbitration. He was in every way 
especially disqualified. In the first place, the Government of Great Britain had 
virtually created the Kingdom of Belgium. That Government was the upholder 
of the kingdom almost against the logic of events. King Leopold, its first 
sovereign, had taken in marriage the Princess Charlotte, daughter of the Prince 
Regent of the kingdom. He was Queen Victoria's uncle on the mother's side 
and also Prince Albert's uncle on the father's side. He was marshal in the 
British army and actually, at the time of his service, a pensioner to the extent 
of fifty thousand pounds sterling on the British exchequer ! He was indeed an 
-extraordinary personage to sit on a court of arbitration in a matter where the 
interests of Great Britain were concerned. Nevertheless, he did so sit, and it 
was he who, by his casting vote, made the award of the five and one-half million 
dollars against our Government. 

It was a strong attestation of the progress which arbitration has made 
among the peoples of the world, that the Halifax award, iniquitous as it was, 
was promptly and fully paid by the Government of the United States. There 
was sharp criticism all along the line, particularly in the Senate ; but it was 
felt to be better h\ far that the wrong should be fulfilled by payment than 
that the beneficent principle of arbitration should be renounced. 

Mr. Blaine, in common with his fellow Senators, shared and uttered the 
deep dislike and repugnance of the people relative to the award against his 
country. He very properly says : " The wrong was done when he [Delfosse] was 
elected as third commissioner, and the tenacity with which he was urged will 
always require explanation from the British Government." Another matter 



166 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

which was constantly in the mind of Blaine at this epoch was the Southern 
question. He saw around him, in both houses of Congress, the leaders of the 
defunct Confederacy. He saw abroad, throughout the South, the ways and means 
prepared for the production of that political phenomenon called " The Solid 
South." He upheld such measures as appeared to him likely to break some- 
what the Southern influence in Congress, and it was pursuant of this policy 
that he favored the limited interference of the Government with what may be 
called the freedom of elections in the States. 

It was in this spirit that he entered into the senatorial battle with respect 
to the use of troops at the polls. The Democratic party had appended to 
the army appropriation bill an amendment to the effect " that no money appro- 
priated in this act is appropriated or shall be paid for the subsistence, equip- 
ment, transportation or compensation of any portion of the army of the United 
States to be used as a police force to keep peace at the polls at any election 
held within any State." 

The project of stationing soldiers at the polls failed. Whether it were or 
were not meritorious as an expedient, it was not fit as a precedent or a policy. 
The measure went by, and Blaine, in common with nearly all the first leaders 
of the Republican part}-, was constrained to see the complete revival of power 
in the hands of the ancient Confederate party throughout the South. 

Another question which came to Mr. Blaine in the Senate was that of 
Chinese immigration. In a subsequent chapter of this volume we have pre- 
sented his speech on this question as well as that on the Halifax award. 
Perhaps no question has possessed more contradictory elements than that of the 
immigration of the Chinese into the United States. The character of Chinese 
civilization is well understood. Perhaps we should emphasize the isolation of 
the race and dwell upon the fact that thus far it has not shown disposition or, 
indeed, capacity to assimilate with any other than itself. Wherever the Chinese 
go they seem to drift around among the peoples whom they visit as foreign 
particles incapable of assimilation. 

With the opening of the great industries of California and the other Pacific 
States as far back as the earlier years after the discovery of gold, the men 
of the Celestial empire began to reach the American coasts. As laborers there 
are none more assiduous than they and none others who can live as cheaplv. 
The Chinese gold-miners were able to accumulate not a little of the precious 
metal ; but it was observed that they immediately returned to their own country. 
giving place to an increasing train of immigration. 

Relations thus began between our country and China. These relations 
date back, indeed, to the year 1844. In 1868 a treaty was negotiated between 
the United States and China known as the Burlingame Treaty ; for at that 
time the Honorable Anson Burlingame, who had been the American minister 
to China, had accepted from the Emperor an appointment as his representative 
to fore: jn Powers. The Burlingame Treaty recognized the right of both Americans 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 167 

and Chinese freely to visit each the country of the other and to reside 
there this, however, without respect to naturalization. One clause of the 
treaty had special significance. It was agreed as follows : " The high con- 
tracting parties join in reprobating any other than an entirely voluntary emi- 
gration." They consequently agree to pass laws making it a penal offence for 
citizens of the United States or Chinese subjects to take Chinese subjects 
either to the United States or to any foreign country, or for a Chinese 
subject or citizen of the United States to take citizens of the United States to 
China or to any foreign country, without their free and voluntary consent 
respectively." 

From these provisions it is clear that the danger of a Chinese labor-trade 
that is, of an importation of Chinese laborers by American capital and the 
substitution of such labor for that of American citizens was foreseen as early 
as 1868. President Grant, on more occasions than one, called the attention of 
Congress to such danger, and advised that body to make provision against it. 
In course of time the peril increased. The Chinese in California were multi- 
plied by thousands. They constituted a quarter in San Francisco. They made 
their way into the mines and along the railways. The spirit of opposition to 
the presence of such an element in Pacific society became pronounced and then 
intense. The subject, from being social, became first political and then dema- 
gogical. The question of restricting Mongolian immigration into the United 
States was agitated, and a bill for that purpose was, in 1S78, carried through 
Congress. The principal features of the act were the prohibition on vessels 
against bringing more than fifteen Chinese passengers to any port of the United 
States, and an authorization to the President to notify the Chinese Emperor of 
the intended abrogation of Articles V. and VI. of the Burlingame Treaty. That 
treaty had provided that either of the high contracting parties might, on due 
notification to the other, abrogate the existing compact, if such party should feel 
aggrieved at its provisions and results. 

It can hardly be doubted that the bill for the exclusion of the Chinese was 
carried through Congress, in part at least, for the political consideration that 
the party favoring such a measure would thereby secure the fealty of the 
Pacific States. Each party was, therefore, anxious to put itself on record in 
favor of those views which prevailed and were intensified in California. It is 
likely, however, that Senator Blaine, in favoring the exclusion of the Chinese, 
was not so much as many others affected in his principles by the politics 
involved. His Americanism led him to dread the presence in our country of a 
large Oriental element floating about without assimilation. However this may 
be, President Hayes vetoed the Chinese bill, and Congress failed to pass the 
measure over the opposition of the Executive. The legislation, however, led to 
the appointment of three commissioners from the United States to proceed to 
China, under authority of the President, to negotiate a modification of the Bur- 
lingame Treaty. At the head of this commission was the Honorable James B. 



168 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

Augell, president of the Michigan University. With him were associated Honor- 
able John F. Swift, of California, and Honorable William Henry Trescot, of 
South Carolina. 

The result was the negotiation of two new treaties. The first of these 
related to the introduction and immigration of Chinese into the United States, 
and the other had respect to the existing commercial relations between the two 
countries. That part of the treaty relating to the introduction of Chinese into 
our country was provisional, but it was immediately followed up with laws 
enacted by Congress for the restriction of Chinese immigration. 

Air. Blaine's five years of residence in Washington, as Senator from Maine, 
were passed in the usual manner of prominent Senators. He was, however, 
with little doubt, the most distinguished figure of the times. He was more 
admired and sought after than was perhaps any of his colleagues. The same 
popular interest followed him ; but followed with augmented volume. His home 
was thronged with visitors and his desk was always heaped with a mass of un- 
finished business. Beyond his life as a statesman there lay his life as a politician. 
It is certain that both he and his friends looked to the probability of a presiden- 
tial nomination at the hands of his party in 1880. 

We have already recounted the story of the Republican National Conten- 
tion of that year, and pointed out the circumstances which led to the substitu- 
tion of the name of Garfield for that of Blaine on the presidential ticket. That j 
ticket was successful at the polls ; and as the natural, almost inevitable, conse- 
quence of the result, Blaine was appointed Secretary of State. This involved I 
his retiracy from the Senate. On the fourth of March, 1881, he resigned his 
seat to take his place at the head of the Garfield cabinet. The letter which he 
wrote to the President accepting the appointment is highly characteristic. We 
append it hereto as follows : 

Washington, December 20, 1880. 

My Dear Garfield : Your generous invitation to enter your cabinet as 
Secretary of State has been under consideration for more than three weeks. The 
thought had really never occurred to my mind until at our late conference you 
presented it with such cogent arguments in its favor and with such warmth of 
personal friendship in aid of your kind offer. 

I know that an early answer is desirable, and I have waited only long 
enough to consider the subject in all its bearings, and to make up niy mind, . 
definitely and conclusively. I now say to you, in the same cordial spirit in 
which you have invited me, that I accept the position. 

It is no affectation for me to add that I make this decision, not for the 
honor of the promotion it gives me in the public service, but because I think I 1 
can be useful to the country and to the party ; useful to yon as the responsible : 
leader of the party and the great head of the Government. 

I am influenced somewhat, perhaps, by the shower of letters I have received ! 
urging me to accept, written to me in consequence of the mere unauthorized f 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 169 

newspaper report that you had been pleased to offer me the place. While I 
have received these letters from all sections of the Union, I have been especially 
pleased, and even surprised, at the cordial and widely-extended feeling in my 
favor throughout New England, where I had expected to encounter local jealousy 
and perhaps rival aspiration. 

In our new relation I shall give all that I am and all that I can hope to 
be, freely and joyfully, to your service. You need no pledge of my loyalty in 
heart and in act. I should be false to myself did I not prove true both to the 
great trust you confide to me and to your own personal and political fortunes 
in the present and in the future. Your administration must be made brilliantly 
successful and strong in the confidence and pride of the people, not at all direct- 
ing its energies for re-election, and yet compelling that result by the logic of 
events and by the imperious necessities of the situation. 

To that most desirable consummation I feel that, next to yourself, I can 
possibly contribute as much influence as any other one man. I say this not from 
egotism or vain glory, but merely as a deduction from a plain analysis of the 
political forces which have been at work in the country for five years past, and 
which have been significantly shown in two great national conventions. I accept 
it as one of the happiest circumstances connected with this affair that in allying 
my political fortunes with yours or rather for the time merging mine in yours 
my heart goes with my head, and that I carry to you not only political 
support, but personal and devoted friendship. I can but regard it as some- 
what remarkable that two men of the same age, entering Congress at the same 
time, influenced by the same aims and cherishing the same ambitions, should 
never, for a single moment in eighteen years of close intimacy, have had a mis- 
understanding or a coolness, and that our friendship has steadily grown with 
our growth and strengthened with our strength. 

It is this fact which has led me to the conclusion embodied in this letter, 
for, however much, my dear Garfield, I might admire you as a statesman, I 
would not enter your cabinet if I did not believe in you as a man and love you 
as a friend. Always faithfully yours, James G. Blaine. 

The other members of the Garfield cabinet were : William Windom, Secre- 
tary of the Treasury ; Wayne MacVeagh, Attorney General ; Robert T. Lincoln, 
Secretary of War ; William H. Hunt, Secretary of the Navy ; Samuel J. Kirk- 
wood, Secretary of the Interior, and Thomas L. James, Postmaster-General. 

We shall not long detain the reader with the diplomatical life of Mr. Blaine 
during his first occupancy of the Department of State. It is sufficient to note 
that a policy was introduced into the Government of which Blaine was the author 
and principal promoter. That policy he has himself outlined concisely as 
follows : 

The foreign policy of President Garfield's administration had two principal 
objects in view : First, to bring about peace and prevent future wars in North 
and South America ; second, to cultivate such friendly commercial relations with 



170 'LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

all American countries as would lead to a large increase in the export trade of 
the United States by supplying those fabrics in which we are abundantly able 
to compete with the manufacturing nations of Europe. 

We shall not here recount in extenso the other features of the policy and 
method of the Secretary of State. Perhaps the most conspicuous of all Blaine's 
acts while Secretary of State under Garfield was the invitation which he sent 
out to the American nations for a Peace Congress, to be held at Washington 
City. The time named for such meeting was March 15, 1882. Meanwhile, 
Garfield was assassinated, and, although the Arthur administration made as 
though it would favor the Peace Congress, the enterprise went awry and was 
presently abortive. 

We should not pass over this period without noting the calmness and 
magnanimity of the Secretary of State during the long decline of Garfield. 
None proved himself to be a more worthy friend of the President than Blaine. 
The latter became a sort of organ between the people and the stricken Chief 
Magistrate. When Garfield died it was he who notified Vice-President Arthur 
and called him to take the oath of office. He was also the principal adviser in 
the preparation and conduct of the funeral of the dead President, and was in 
the following February appointed his official eulogist. 

We now pass over an interval of seven years between the first and second 
service of Blaine in the Department of State. He himself was defeated for the 
presidency defeated by a scratch. The Democratic party came into power with 
the resolute and stern Cleveland in the presidency. Mr. Blaine passed a long 
interval in private life, or in such semblance of privacy as the American people 
were disposed to concede to him. It was at this time that his reputation as a 
statesman spread over the sea. He himself went abroad, and his mind became 
mature and calm under the skies of Italy and France. 

As the Cleveland administration grew to a close none might well foresee 
whether the party that had put the President in authority could succeed in 
replacing him there, or whether he must yield to another. Victory inclined to 
the Republican banner ; Harrison came in on the tide, and a new opportunity 
was given to the Republican party, not so much to appease itself with the fat 
of offices and the emoluments of temporary triumph, as to bring forth fruits 
meet for repentance, and recover, if might be, its great prestige with the 
American people. 

The election of Harrison to the presidency implied, among other things, 
the restoration of Blaine to the office of Secretary of State. The appointment went 
as a matter of course, and Blaine was again installed in the Department of State. 
He was now permitted to renew, and he did renew, the policies which he had 
conceived seven years previously. We have, at another part of the present 
work, illustrated with sufficient amplitude the work of the State Department 
under the administration of Harrison. The reader knows how many things 
went forward to complete or partial success. He knows also how serious 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES B. BLAINE. 171 

were the complications which arose on this hand and on that ; an imbroglio 
with Italy ; warlike complication with Chili ; a rupture with Great Britain obout 
the sealing fisheries of Alaska. In the midst came the International American 
Conference an event which Blaine as Secretary of State had first imagined, 
then prepared, and finally developed into fact. 

One has only to look over the publications which issued from the Depart- 
ment of State for the years 1889-90-91 to be convinced, as well as surprised, 
at the vast volume of business transacted in the foreign relations of the Uuited 
States. Such work is fit to break down men of genius, to make them prema- 
turely old, to crush their nerve-tissue under the sense of responsibility and 
difficulty. Blaine experienced this hardship. He also had other hardships most 
affecting to endure. Death came into his family. His son, Walker Blaine, a 
man of promise, who had already begun to be a diplomatist, died ; also the 
eldest daughter, Alice, wife of the military officer, Colonel John J. Coppinger. 
Such accumulated calamity might well prey upon the spirit of the strongest. 

We are permitted, in this connection, to repeat an incident or a conversa- 
tion furnished to the author by Bishop John F. Hurst, of the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church. After the death of Mr. Blaine's son and daughter, he called 
upon the Secretary and tendered him his sympathies. He went further, and 
speaking in behalf of the great denomination which, as bishop, he represented, 
he told Mr. Blaine that the sympathies and prayers of the church were his in 
his days of grief. Mr. Blaine heard him with attentive silence until the bishop 
had ceased speaking, and then said : " Bishop Hurst, I thank you for your 
expressions of sympathy and interest, and also thank the denomination which 
you represent. The death of my son and daughter brought to my mind a 
serious problem. In the presence of their loss I must do something. It seemed 
necessary for me that I should adopt a policy and follow it in order to live or 
continue my existence. One of two courses seemed to suggest itself; but which 
should I take ? I first thought that I must abandon public life and dwell 
henceforth with memory, else I could not go further. On the other hand, it 
seemed that I might ignore the personal and family affliction which had fallen 
upon me, resume my public duties, devote myself to them with such assiduity 
as must needs call my mind away from my losses, and thus manage to complete 
my course. Of the two alternatives, / chose the latter. I am endeavoring to devote 
myself with increasing assiduity to those official and public cares and anxieties, and 
thus I manage to maintain my interest in life. I think it better to go on in this 
way and to think as little of the past as may be under the circumstances." 

Another fact which here appears for our consideration is the rather severe 
break which now came in the Secretary's vitality and bodily organs. He gave 
away under the action of the forces that played upon him, abetted, as those forces 
were, by the disappointments and troubles that were within him rather than 
without. He broke prematurely under his years, and was already remarked as 
an aged man. In this character he was seen about his residence on the east- 



172 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

side of Jackson, or in going to and from the other departments and the White 
House. His form, in these last days of his official life, was still erect and 
commanding. His step was habitually brisk. His close-cut beard and his hair 
were silvered almost to whiteness. His features relaxed a good deal and his 
countenance at times was dulled. At other times, as his spirits rose or the tide 
of improving health came again, he fired up in his old-time manner and his 
lustrous eyes regained for the hour their brilliancy and fascination. 

In another place, we have discussed the question which was before Blaine 
at the beginning of the year 1892. Now, indeed, was the last chance really 
come ! Men do not like to face or to take their last chance. They would rather 
postpone the day of the great alternative. Certainly, Mr. Blaine could not hope 
to be a candidate for the presidency in 1896. The glittering prize must there- 
fore come at this juncture or never come at all. It is probable that he had 
schooled his mind to let the presidency go ; but at times and under certain 
circumstances the old passion and hope revived. It is likely that his expiring 
ambition in this particular was whetted to sharpness or to such blunt sharpness 
as still remained in his constitution, by Mrs. Blaine, who seems always to have 
had a strong influence over the mind of her husband. The more zealous of his 
party-following also favored this, the fifth use of his name in candidature for 
the presidency. His relations in the State Department and with the administra- 
tion became vexatious to a degree. He neither could nor could not. It would 
appear that in the cabinet he bore himself, to the last, with great dignity and 
with personal fidelity to his trusts. The office-holding classes of the country 
wished the renomination of Harrison. The President, himself, also desired a 
re-election. The demand was made on Blaine that he should declare himself. He 
did declare himself to this purport that his name would not be presented at 
the Minneapolis convention as that of a candidate for the presidency. But this 
would not suffice. There were many who would nominate him anyhow. He 
had at his disposal the bulk and the enthusiasm of his party. Finally, when 
the crisis could be postponed no longer, he withdrew from the cabinet and letl 
events take their own course. For a few days it seemed that his reputation and. 
magnetic power over his party would prevail against all organization, and that| 
he would again be the nominee. But the opposing cohorts put themselves) 
compactly together and the movement in favor of Blaine was blown away. 

Already the great Secretary had retired from his official position. It was 1 
the last act in a long and successful public career. The effect produced on the 
public minds was profound. New, at last it was realized that James G. Blaine; 
was to be no more considered as a quantity and possibility in the public affairs; 
of the country. The conviction that, as a public man, he was no more, settled 
heavily on the heart of the nation. Both parties and all parties could but regret 
the vicissitude of affairs which had at length ruled, from one of the highest 
places of authority, the illustrious occupant and made him of no further official, 
count in the destinies of the American nation. 



CHAPTER VII. 



THE INTERNATIONAL AMERICAN CONFERENCE. 

'N the current chapter we shall attempt to give some 
account of an event with which the name of James G. 
Blaine is destined to be forever associated in our 
history. We refer to the International American Con- 
ference, popularly known as the Pan-American Con- 
gress. This great delegate assembly, from the 
American Republics, was held in Washington, D. Co 
S^Sg^f beginning on the second of October, 1889. The 
meetings were held in the diplomatic chamber of the 
Department of State. It was from beginning to end an affair 
of that Department, and Mr. Blaine, as Secretary of State, was, 
from the incipiency, its prevailing spirit. The proceedings of the 
Confei-ence have now been published from the printing office of the 
Government, and constitute, under the head of Reports and 
Discussions, four large volumes. These contain a mass of infor- 
mation and a variety of views on questions of national and inter- 
national policy, full of interest, and constituting the original 
material of an important chapter in the future history of the 
United States. 

Premising, we may say, that the International American 
Conference, held under Mr. Blaine's auspices, was the first 
important climax in a series of movements, which had found their first expres- 
sion as far back as the close of the first quarter of our century. From 1825 
to 1888, attempts more or less formal, may be noted to hold a conference of the 
American nation, and to devise, as it were, a kind of American internationality. 
Of the nature of this project, we may gain some idea by a reference to the 
address of introduction, delivered by Mr. Blaine himself, to the assembled dele- 
gates from thirteen American Republics, October 2, 1889. Addressing the 
assembly Mr. Blaine said : 

ADDRESS OF WELCOME BY MR. BLAINE. 

Gentlemen of the International American Conference : Speaking 
for the Government of the United States, I bid you welcome to this Capital. 
Speaking for the people of the United States, I bid you welcome to every section 
and to every State of the Union. You come in response to an invitation extended 
by the President, on the special authorization of Congress. Your presence here 

(173) 




174 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

is no ordinary event. It signifies much to the people of all America to-day. 
It may signify far more in the days to come. No conference of nations has 
ever assembled to consider the welfare of territorial possessions so vast and to 
contemplate the possibilities of a future so great and so inspiring. Those now 
sitting within these walls are empowered to speak for nations, whose borders 
are on both the great oceans, whose northern limits are touched by the Arctic 
waters for a thousand miles beyond the Strait of Behriug, and whose southern 
extension furnishes human habitations farther below the equator than is else- 
where possible on the globe. 

The aggregate territorial extent of the nations, here represented, falls but 
little short of 12,000,000 of square miles more than three times the area of all 
Europe, and but little less than one-fourth part of the globe ; while in the 
respect to the power of producing the articles which are essential to human life 
and those which minister to life's luxury, they constitute even the larger portion 
of the entire world. These great possessions to-day have an aggregate popula- 
tion approaching 120,000,000, but if peopled as densely as the average of Europe, 
the total number would exceed 1,000,000,000. While considerations of this 
character must inspire Americans, both south and north, with the liveliest anti- 
cipation of future grandeur and power, they must also impress them with a 
sense of the gravest responsibility touching the character and development of 
their respective nationalities. 

The delegates I am addressing can do much to establish permanent rela- 
tions of confidence, respect and friendship between the nations which they repre- 
sent. They can show to the world an honorable, peaceful Conference of eighteen 
independent American Powers, in which all shall meet on terms of absolute 
equality ; a Conference in which there can be no attempt to coerce a single 
delegate against his own conception of the interests of his nation ; a Conference 
which will permit no secret understanding on any subject, but will frankly 
publish to the world all its conclusions ; a Conference which will tolerate no 
spirit of conquest, but will aim to cultivate an American sympathy as broad as 
both continents ; a Conference which will form no selfish alliance against the 
older nations from which we are proud to claim inheritance a Conference, in 
fine, which will seek nothing, propose nothing, endure nothing that is not, in 
the general sense of all the delegates, timely and wise and peaceful. 

And yet we cannot be expected to forget that our common fate has made 
us inhabitants of the two continents which, at the close of four centuries, are 
still regarded beyond the seas, as the New World. Like situations beget like 
sympathies and impose like duties. We meet in firm belief that the nations 
of America ought to be and can be more helpful, each to the other, than they 
now are, and that each will find advantage and profit from an enlarged inter- 
course with the others. 

We believe that we should be drawn together more closely by the highways 
of the sea, and that at no distant day the railway system of the north and south 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



175 



will meet upon the isthmus aud connect by land routes the political and com- 
mercial capitals of all America. 

We believe that hearty co-operation, based on hearty confidence, will save 
all American States from the burdens and evils which have long and cruelly 
afflicted the older nations of the world. 

We believe that a spirit of justice, of common and equal interest, between 
the American States, will leave no room for an artificial balance of power alike 
unto that which has led to wars abroad and drenched Europe in blood. 

We believe that friendship, avowed with candor and maintained with good 
faith, will remove from American States the necessity of guarding boundary 
lines between themselves with 
fortification and military force. 

We believe that standing 
armies, beyond those which are 
needful for public order and the 
safety of internal administration, 
should be unknown on both 
American continents. 

We believe that friendship 
and not force, the spirit of just 
law and not the violence of the 
mob, should be the recognized 
rule of administration between 
American nations and in Amer- 
ican nations. 

To these subjects, and those 
which are cognate thereto, the 
attention of this Conference is 
earnestly and cordially invited by 
the Government of the United 
States. It will be a great gain 
when we shall acquire that com- 
mon confidence, on which all mr. buine during pan-american congress 
international friendship must rest. It will be a greater gain when we shall be 
able to draw the people of all American nations into close acquaintance with each 
other, an end to be facilitated by more frequent and more rapid intercommuni- 
cation. It will be the greatest gain when the personal and commercial relations 
of the American States, south and north, shall be so developed and so regulated 
that each shall acquire the highest possible advantage from the enlightened 
and enlarged intercourse of all. 

Before the Conference shall formally enter upon the discussion of the sub- 
jects to be submitted to it, I am instructed by the President to invite all the 
delegates to be the guests of the Government during a proposed visit to various 




176 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

sections of the country, with the double view of showing to our friends from 
abroad the condition of the United States, and of giving to our people in their 
homes the privilege and pleasure of extending the warm welcome of Americans 
to Americans." 

The foregoing address of Mr. Blaine, delivered while holding the office of 
Secretary of Stat:- has special significance. It is the highest expression of his 
highest purposes as a statesman. Mr. Blaine's political and public life may 
almost be regarded as summarized in these two or three pages of his opening 
speech before the delegates to the International American Conference. It 
expresses the genius and inner sense of the man. He is here, at his best 
estate. He here speaks from the mind and heart outwards. He is here in his 
true element. We dwell upon it and emphasize it in order that the reader 
may catch the spirit of it and understand Blaine as he was in the day of his 
zenith. 

It will be noted, from Mr. Blaine's address, that " eighteen independent 
American Powers " are addressed. As a matter of fact, only thirteen States 
were represented by their delegates at the opening of the Conference. These 
were : Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, 
Nicaragua, Peru, Salvador, the United States of North America, Uruguay and 
Venezuela. The number of delegates present was in all twenty-six. These 
were : For Bolivia, Juan F. Velarde ; for Brazil, Lafayette Rodrigues Pereira r 
J. G. do Amaral Valente, Salvador de Mendonca; for Colombia, Jose M. Hurtado, 
Carlos Martinez Silva, Climaco Calderon ; for Costa Rica, Manuel Aragon ; for 
Guatemala, Fernando Crux ; for Honduras, Jeronimo Zelaya ; for Mexico, Matias 
Romero ; for Nicaragua, Horatio Guzeman ; for Peru, F. C. C. Zegarra ; for 
Salvador, Jacinto Castellanos ; for the United States, John B. Henderson, Clement 
Studebaker, Cornelius N. Bliss, T. Jefferson Coolidge, John F. Hanson, William 
Henry Trescot, Morris M. Estee, Henry G. Davis, Charles R. Flint; for Uru- 
guay, Alberto Nin ; for Venezuela, Nicanor Bolet Peraza, Jose Andrade. 

To the foregoing members of the Conference were presently added : From 
Hayti, Arthur Laforestrie, Hannibal Price ; from the Argentine Republic, 
Roque Saenz Pena, Manuel Quintana ; from Paraguay, Jose S. Decoud ; from Chili, 
Emilio C. Varas, Jose Alafonso ; from Ecuador, Jose Maria Placido Caamano. 

In the matter of organization it might well have been foreseen who would 
be chosen presiding officer. That person was, out of the nature of the case, 
James G Blaine, Secretary of State. The organization was completed by the 
choice of William Elory Curtis as executive officer, together with a disbursing 
officer, sergeants-at-arms, surgeon, consulting engineer, official interpreters, 
publication clerk, translators, official stenographers, stenographers, messengers, 
pages, etc. The Congress was thus set forth in full form, and by the seventh 
of December, 1889, was enabled to report the division of its work and to assigi 
the same to the following committees : Executive Committee, Committee 01 
Customs Unions, Committee on Communication on the Atlantic, Committee on j 



178 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

Coinniuuication on the Pacific, Committee on Communication on the Gulf of 
Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, Committee on Railway Communication, 
Committee on Customs Relations, Committee on Port Dues, Committee on 
Weights and- Measures, Committee on Sanitary Regulations, Committee on 
Patents and Trade Marks, Committee on Extradition, Committee on Monetary 
Convention, Committee on Banking, Committee on International Law, Committee 
on the General Welfare. 

The above may serve to give the reader an adequate notion of the extent 
and variety of the subjects which were to be considered by the International 
Conference. The volumes which have been issued by the Department of State 
are made up, for the most part, of the reports of the foregoing sixteen general 
committees and of the discussions thereon. Space forbids us, in this connection, 
to enter extensively into the consideration of the reports referred to, or of the 
discussions which followed on the reports. The Committee on Weights and 
Measures made its report on the fifteenth of January, 1890. The principal item 
in the same was that which gave approval to the metric system of weights and 
measures, and recommended the adoption of the same by the Conference as an 
expression to influence legislation in the various countries represented. The 
conclusion of the report is worthy of notice : 

" Recently the United States Government received official fac-similes of the 
meter and kilogram agreed upon in the International Metrical Conference held 
in Paris, in September of last year ; and the boxes containing them were officially 
opened on the second instant at the Executive Mansion, in the presence of the 
President of the Republic and other functionaries and certain distinguished 
personages, especially invited for the ceremony. 

" The advantage which the metrical decimal system offers, being so evident, 
and that system having been already adopted by so considerable a number of 
nations, your committee recommend 

"That the International American Conference proposes to all the Governments 
here represented that its use be made obligatory, both in their commercial rela- 
tions and in all that relates to the sciences and the industrial arts. 

"Jacinto Castellanos, 
" Clement Studebaker." 

The foregoing report and recommendation was amended with a substitute 
offered by Matias Romero, of Mexico, as follows : 

" Resolved, That the International American Conference recommends the 
adoption of the metrical decimal system to the nations here represented, which 
have not already accepted it." 

The debates on the report were interesting and extended, resulting on the 
twenty-fourth of January, 1890, in the adoption of the recommendation as 
expressed in the amendment of Mr. Romero. 

The Committee on Intercontinental Railways was next to submit its report,' 
which was made on the twenty-first of February, and discussed on the twenty-sixth ; 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 179 

The report was of great interest, declaring, first of all, that a railway, 
connecting all or the majority of the nations represented in the Conference, 
would contribute greatly to the development of cordial relations between said 
nations and the growth of their material interests. The second recommendation 
was for the appointment of an international commission of engineers to ascertain 
the possible routes, to determine their true length, to estimate the cost of each 
and to compare their respective advantages. Space forbids the repetition of the 
matter contained in the sixteen general recommendations made by the committee. 
A few amendments were made and the report was adopted. 

Next came the report of the majority and the minority of the Committee on 
Customs Unions. The former was presented with the signatures of the representa- 
tives of Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Nicaragua, Venezuela and the United States. 
The minority report was signed by the representatives of Chili and the Argentine 
Republic. The discussion upon the reports was held on the fifteenth of March, 
1890. The debate took the general form of a controversy respecting free trade 
as a policy among the American nations. It extended from day to day until 
the twelfth of April, when the minority report was rejected by a vote of eleven 
to five. Such were the difficulties of the subject under consideration that the 
report of the majority was finally reduced to the following form, which was 
adopted on the date last mentioned : 

" To recommend to such of the Governments represented in the Conference 
as may be interested in the concluding of partial reciprocity, commercial treaties, 
and to negotiate such treaties with one or more of the American countries, as it 
may in their interest to make them, under such a basis as may be acceptable 
in each case, taking into consideration the special situation, conditions, and inter- 
ests of each country, and with a view to promote their common welfare." 

This report as finally adopted by the Conference well illustrates the irre- 
pressible conflict going on among the nations between the advocates and the 
opponents of free trade. The question will not down. It would appear that 
every intelligent human being, and many that are not intelligent, are born with 
certain prejudices on this question, that act, as it were, a priori in determining the 
future judgments of the persons concerned. It is like every other question that begins 
with assumptions. It has something in it of the same difficulty and inscrut- 
ableness which we know in the old philosophical and religious debates of the 
middle ages. It sometimes seems to be the doctrine of free trade will come again 
for decision. It may be doubted whether the most enlightened people in the 
world have to-day any really clear and definite thought on this question of 
free trade among the nations. Clearly England is one of the most enlightened and 
successful countries. She long had a system of protection, but this, within the 
present century, she abandoned for the principle and practice of free trade. Clearly 
she has flourished and grown great, if not supreme, by this method. She has become 
the evangelist of free trade among the nations. And this fact, instead of con- 
firming our belief in the good policy of her system, tends rather to shake our 



180 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

confidence in it. For if Great Britain thought it to be of advantage to her 
competitors that they should become, like herself, free-trade nations, would she, 
in that event, try to persuade them to become such ? Has she been wont to 
give such advice as that ? When did she seek the interest of any save her own ? 
On the other hand, if Great Britain believed that the adoption of free trade by 
the nations that compete with her for the commerce of the world would be 
injured thereby, with the general result of a gain to herself, is it not part and 
parcel of her spirit and history to advise that that very policy should be pursued ? 
Indeed, we fear the old Greek, even when she brings her gifts ! 

Here in the International American Conference, the question was renewed 
under conditions that might have seemed to favor the establishment of some 
concurrent opinion. Instead of doing so, however, the whole debate degenerated 
and issued in the adoption of an inconsequential resolution, which might do 
credit to an American political party in convention assembled. It is as though 
the Congress should say to the nations : If you desire to be free-trade nations, 
or protective nations, or reciprocal nations, in whole or in part, to any extent or 
any degree, or under any conditions, or no conditions at all why, then, to that 
extent, and in that manner, and to that degree, do as you want to do, and don't 
do as you don't want to do : for that will be best ! 

The next committee to report was that appointed to consider " Communi- 
cation on the Atlantic." The subject had respect only to such nations as were 
represented in the Conference and whose territories bordered on the Atlantic 
waters. The report recommended, in the first place, that the Governments 
represented should give aid to one or more lines of steam navigation between 
the ports of the United States and those of Brazil and Rio de la Platta. The 
second recommendation was that for the establishment, by governmental aid, of 
a fast bi-monthly service of steam navigation between the ports of the United 
States, Rio Janeiro, Montevideo and Buenos Ayres. The third recommendation 
considered the quarantine regulations which should be adopted to prevent the 
dissemination of infection. The fourth established the speed at which the steam- 
ships of the said lines should proceed. 

The next paragraph related to auxiliar}?- lines of freight steamers between 
the ports of the United States and those of the Atlantic South American 
countries. So, through a series of recommendations, extending to fifteen, the 
report continued, covering many valuable and interesting suggestions for the 
improvement of commerce between the countries of the Atlantic seaboard, whose 
representatives sat in the Conference. The report was submitted on the twenty- 
third of March, 1890, and on the following day the discussion began, resulting 
in the adoption of the report by a unanimous vote. 

This was followed by the report of the corresponding committee for the 
consideration of " Communication on the Pacific." This also covered a great 
variety of subjects, extending to nine recommendations from the committee, with 
special reports appended on telegraphic communication, postal communication, 



182 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

etc. To this was added an elaborate appendix prepared by Hon. M. M. Estee, 
of California, on "The Commerce on the Pacific Coast." The discussion of the 
reports began on tbe twenty-fourth of March and was concluded by a unanimous 
adoption, together with the following especial recommendation : 

" The International American Conference resolves : To recommend to the 
Governments of the countries bordering on the Pacific Ocean to promote among 
themselves maritime, telegraphic and postal communications, taking into con- 
sideration, as far as is compatible with their own interests, the propositions 
formulated in the report of the Committee on Communications on the Pacific." 

Meanwhile, the Committee on " Communication on the Gulf of Mexico and 
the Caribbean Sea" made its report, covering the subjects of telegraphic and 
postal communication, communication with Hayti, Venezuela, Colombia, Central 
America and Mexico. The report was elaborate, covering the whole question of 
transportation facilities among the States referred to. 

On the nineteenth of February, 1S90, the Committee on " Customs Regu- 
lation " made its report and the discussion immediately ensued with the unani- 
mous adoption. The recommendation from the committee was as follows : 

"Resolved, That the International American Conference recommends to the 
Governments represented therein the adoption of a common nomenclature, which 
shall designate, in alphabetical order in equivalent terms, in English, Portuguese 
and Spanish, the commodities on which import duties are levied, to be used 
respectively by all the American nations, for the purpose of levying customs 
imposts, which are or may be hereafter established, and also to be used in 
shipping manifests, consular invoices, entries, clearance petitions and other 
customs documents; but not to affect in any manner the right of each nation 
to levy the import duties now in force or which may hereafter be established." 

The foregoing report was followed by a second from the same committee, 
under date of March 29, 1S90. This had respect to the classification and valua- 
tion of merchandise. The document and the discussion thereon were long and 
interesting, resulting in a vote unanimously in favor of the recommendations of 
the committee. The same body followed up its work by a third report favoring 
the establishment of an International Bureau of Information, and this called out 
a second discussion which, on the fourteenth of April, 1S90, also resulted in a 
unanimous vote in favor of the committee's recommendations. The debate on 
" Harbor Fees and Regulations," concerning which a paper was presented by 
the same committee, was one of the most extensive of the whole Congress and 
one of the most practically important. On the tenth of April, 1890, the report 
was finally called up by Mr. Studebaker, one of the delegates from the United 
States and was adopted. 

The next committee to submit its report was that on " Sanitary Regulations." 
This consisted of a report in chief and of an elaborate appendix, embracing the 
results reached in the Convention of Rio Janeiro and also in the Convention of 
Lima. The discussion on the subjects presented began at the session of February 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 183 

>8, 1890. At the end of the debates the report of the Committee on " Sanitary 
Regulations " was approved by a majority of thirteen votes to two in the 
negative. The latter were cast by the Delegates of Mexico and Chili. 

It were long to summarize the entire proceedings of the International 
American Conference or to present its results even in the briefest form. We 
must, within the limitations of our space, content ourselves with certain general 
features of the Congress and with very short epitomes of the acts and recom- 
mendations of the body. On the nineteenth of February, 1890, the Committee 
on " Patents and Trade-marks " made its report. The recommendations sent in 
to the general session were as follows : 

" Whereas, the International American Conference is of the opinion that the 
treaties on literary and artistic property, on patents, and on trade-marks, cele- 
brated by the Southern American Congress of Montevideo, fully guarantee and 
protect the rights of property which are the subject of the provisions therein 
contained : 

" Resolved, That the Conference recommend, both to those Governments of 
America which accepted the proposition of holding the Congress, but could not 
participate in its deliberations, and to those not invited thereto, but who are 
represented in this Conference, that they adopt the said treaties." 

To this report and recommendation was added an elaborate appendix on the 
subject of " Literary and Artistic Copyright." The subject is so vast and the 
appendix so varied in its treatment of the same that we must pass them to 
note the brief recommendation adopted by the Conference on the third of March, 
1S90, as follows : 

Whereas, the International American Conference is of the opinion that the 
treaties on literary and artistic property, on patents and on trade-marks, celebrated 
by the South American Congress of Montevideo, fully guarantee and protect 
the rights of property which are the subject of the provisions therein contained: 

" Resolved, That the Conference recommend, both to those governments of 
America which accepted the proposition of holding the Congress, but could not 
participate in its deliberations, and to those not invited thereto, but who are 
represented in this Conference, that they adopt the said treaties." 

The next in order followed the report of the Committee on " The Extra- 
dition of Criminals." In this it was proposed to have adopted, among the 
nations, a treaty on an International Penal Law. For this purpose a tentative 
statute of fifty-one articles was prepared and submitted to the Conference. The 
discussion of the given subjects was taken up on the fourteenth of April, 1890, 
and was continued from day to day until the decision was reached. 

On the twelfth of March, 1890, the Committee on " International American 
Monetary Union " made its report. The discussion of this was undertaken on 
the twenty-fifth of March and was continued with great spirit. The fundamen- 
tal question in the debates was found in the sixth article of the report of the 
committee, which was to this effect : 



184 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

" The adoption of a common silver coin to be issued by each Government, 
the same to be legal tender in all commercial transactions between the citizens 
of all the American States." 

Here, indeed, was a bone of contention. The question of bi-metallisin came 
up. Quot homines, tot sciitcnticr. The issue which had been uppermost for 
many years in the United States, and which has continued to the present time 
to divide the people, sprang full armed, and there was the usual difficulty in 
reaching any adequate judgment. There was the same interested division for 
and against the proposed universal silver dollar. It appears strained that justice 
and truth seem incapable of a hearing on this subject. In our own country, 
in the face of the notorious fact that the silver dollar is the dollar of the law 
and the contract, we have had a persistent and determined effort to dethrone 
it and reduce silver from the rank of a precioits metal to mere merchandise. 
If, in our country, we are not able to do justice to the debtor classes and to 
the producing interests on this broad domain, what shall we expect when the 
contrarious interests, purposes and policies of many nations, some of them pro- 
ducing no silver, are to be taken into the account. The question of coinage, 
after all, is very simple. The debtor, if he be honest, wants to pay according 
to the law and the contract ; that is, to give to the creditor the same dollar 
which he promised to give. If he be dishonest, then he wants to give to the 
creditor some other dollar, less in weight and value than the one which he 
promised to give as small, in fact, as possible, even if it be infinitesimal. 
On the other hand, the creditor, if he be honest, wishes to receive the dollar 
of the law and the contract. But if he be dishonest, he wants to receive some 
other dollar, weighing more and worth more than the original. He wants this 
other dollar to be as big as possible big as his father's shield or the moon's 
face itself. Now, in most countries and in our age, the dishonest debtors and 
creditors far outnumber the honest ones. The result is they do not agree as 
to what they should pay and receive in the liquidation of debts. The mone- 
metallist wants a dollar worth much more than the dollar of the law and the 
contract, and many representing the debtor classes are disposed to foist upon 
the creditor a dollar worth but little or nothing at all ! 

The foregoing was the most extensive single debate before the International 
American Conference. The recommendations, which are here inserted, show 
strongly the political tinge. It is clear to the reader that the merits of the 
question have been in large measure generalized away. It would be amusing, 
if it were not pitiable, to note the expedients to which the human mind, acting 
under the dominion of political forces, is driven in its flirtation with truth and 
falsehood. The mind, in such a case, would fain have the truth ; it must needs 
be content with the false. With either it might be content 

" Were t'other dear charmer away ! " 

The recommendations of the committee were finally as follows : " The 
International American Conference is of opinion that great advantages would 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 185 

accrue to the commerce between the nations of this continent by the use of a 
coin or coins that would be current at the same value 'in all the countries 
represented in this Conference,' and therefore recommends : 

" i. That an International American Monetary Union be established. 

" 2. That as a basis for this union, an international coin or coins be issued 
which shall be uniform in weight and fineness, and which may be used in all 
countries represented in this Conference. 

" 3. That to give full effect to this recommendation, there shall meet in 
Washington a commission composed of one delegate or more from each nation 
represented in this Conference, which shall consider the quantity, the kind of 
currency, the uses it shall have and the value and proportion of the international 
silver coin or coins and their relations to gold. 

" 4. That the Government of the United States shall invite the commission 
to meet in Washington within a year to be counted from the date of the 
adjournment of this Conference." 

The reader will excuse the travesty, but this report of the Committee, 
adopted as the best attainable thing, was and is virtually equivalent to the 
following : 

" The International American Conference is of the opinion that sunshine is 
a beautiful and useful commodity to the world, and that spring rains in their 
season tend to make fruitful fields. Therefore, we recommend : 

" 1. That an International Sun-and-Rain Union be established. 

" 2. That as a basis for this union, a uniform amount of both sunshine 
and rain, according to the season, be recommended to the various countries 
represented in this Congress. 

" 3. That, in order to make effective this recommendation, a second Sun- 
and-Rain Committee be invited to meet in Washington, who shall further con- 
sider the quantity of sunshine and the amount of rainfall requisite for the 
interests of vegetation and their proper combination. 

" 4. That the Government of the United States shall, within a year, invite 
the said Sun-and-Rain Committee to meet in the city of Washington for the 
promotion of the interests hidden somewhere in its existence." 

But the honorable committee did the best it could, under the circum- 
stances ; for, for the time, the question was unsolvable. That is, it was unsolvable 
without telling the truth, and the truth could not be told on account of the 
political conditions present in the United States and in other coxintries represented 
in the Conference. ' 

The next committee to report its work was that appointed to consider an 
" International American Bank." This subject also was dangerous. It resulted 
in a majority and a minority report, both of which were submitted to the Con- 
ference on the eighth of April, 1890. The first was signed by the representatives 
from Colombia, the United States of North America and Brazil, and the second 
was signed by Mr. Emilio C. Varas, delegate from Chili. The discussions were 



186 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

lengthy, taKing up 'the time of the sessions of April ix, 12 and 13. The 
action finally agreed upon was summarized in the following recommendation : 

"Resolved, That the Conference recommends to the Governments here 
represented the granting of liberal concessions to facilitate inter-American bank- 
ing, and especially such as may be necessary for the establishment of an Inter- 
national American Bank, with branches or agencies in the several countries 
represented in this Conference." 

One of the most important subjects before the body was that of " Private 
International Law." The committee having this subject in hand made its report 
on the twenty -first of February, 1S90, and the discussion was continued for several 
sessions. The report presented a trial statute for a proposed Treaty on " Interna- 
tional Civil Law," extending to seventy-one articles, with an appendix of fifty-two 
articles and a second appendix on the " Law of Procedure," of sixteen articles. 

Following this came, on the twelfth of April, 1890, the report of the Com- 
mittee on " Claims and Diplomatic Intervention." Of this there was a majority 
and a minority report. The same was true of the reports of the Committee on 
" Navigation of Rivers." On the latter subject the discussions were held on the 
eighteenth of April, 1890, and resulted in the following recommendations : 

" (1) That rivers which separate several States, or which bathe their terri- 
tory, shall be open to the free navigation of the merchant marine or ships of 
war of riparian nations. 

" (2) That this declaration shall not affect the jurisdiction nor the 
sovereignty of any of the riparian nations, either in time of peace or war." 

None of the sub-committees of the Conference was more important than that 
appointed to consider a " Plan of Arbitration." The question of arbitrating 
difficulties among nations has arisen from time to time since the revival of 
civilization. All the enlightened peoples have felt that sooner or later reason 
must be substituted for war in the adjustment of questions at issue among 
themselves. The Committee on Plan of Arbitration made its report on the ninth 
of April, 1890. It consisted of a sort of international constitution of nineteen 
articles, covering the whole ground of arbitration and prescribing the rules by 
which the same should be attained among the Republics of North, Central and 
South America. The discussion of this vast subject was undertaken on the 
fourteenth of April, 1890. It extended through many days; was marked with 
great ability and tended to a practical result. This was reached in the adoption 
of a plan of arbitration for the countries represented in the Conference. The 
plan itself was an amended and improved form of the constitution reported by 
the committee, and though too long for insertion here, is worthy of the reference 
and interest of the reader.* 

On the twentieth of January, 1890, the Conference considered a proposed 
" Recommendation to European Powers," bearing on the question of arbitration 
and resulting in the following action : 

*See "International American Conference" (published by the Department of State), 1S92, Volume II, p. 1078. 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 187 

" The International American Conference resolves : That this Conference, 
having recommended arbitration for the settlement of disputes among the 
Republics of America, begs leave to express the wish that controversies between 
them and the nations of Europe may be settled in the same friendly manner. 

"It is further recommended that the government of each nation herein repre- 
sented communicate this wish to all friendly powers." 

The Committee on General Welfare made, on the eighteenth of April, a 
supplementary report on " The Right of Conquest," which, after discussion, 
was finished with a series of recommendations against spoliation and violence 
among the nations. This was followed on the same day with miscellaneous 
resolutions and closing ceremonies. There was a proposition for an Inter- 
national Memorial Library, another project for a Colombian Exposition, and 
then the proceedings of the Conference were brought to a close by the president, 
James G. Blaine, in a 

FAREWELL ADDRESS. 

Gentlemen : I withhold for a moment the word of final adjournment, in 
order that I may express to you the profound satisfaction with which the 
Government of the United States regards the work that has been accomplished 
by the International American Conference. The importance of the subjects 
which has claimed your attention, the comprehensive intelligence and watchful 
patriotism which you have brought to their discussion, must challenge the 
confidence and secure the admiration of the Governments and peoples whom you 
represent ; while that larger patriotism which constitutes the fraternity of nations 
has received from you an impulse such as the world has not before seen. 

The extent and value of all that has been achieved by your Conference 
cannot be measured to-day. We stand too near it. Time will define and 
heighten the estimate of your work ; experience will confirm our present pace ; 
final results will be your vindication and your triumph. 

If, in this closing hour, the Conference had but one deed to celebrate, we 
should dare call the world's attention to the deliberate, confident, solemn dedi- 
cation of two great continents to peace, and to the prosperity which has peace 
for its foundation. We hold up this new Magna Charta, which abolishes war 
and substitutes arbitration between the American Republics, as the first and 
great fruit of the International American Conference. That noblest of Ameri- 
cans, the aged poet and philanthropist, Whittier, is the first to send his saluta- 
tion and benediction, declaring, 

" If in the spirit of peace the American Conference agrees upon a rule of 
arbitration which shall make war in this hemisphere well nigh impossible, its 
sessions will prove one of the most important events in the history of the 
world." 

I am instructed by the President to express the wish that, before the 
members of the Conference shall leave for their distant homes, they will accept 
the hospitality of the United States in a visit to the Southern section of the 



188 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



Union, similar to the one they have already made to the Eastern and Western 
sections. The President trusts that the tour will not only be a pleasant incident 
of your farewell to the country, but that you will find advautage in a visit to 
so interesting and important part of our Republic. 

May I express to you, gentlemen, my deep appreciation of the honor you 
did me in calling me to preside over your deliberations. Your kindness has 
been unceasing, and for j^our formal words of approval I offer you my sincerest 
gratitude. 

Invoking the blessing of Almighty God upon the patriotic and fraternal 
work which has been here begun for the good of mankind, I now declare the 
American International Conference adjourned without day." 

The International American Conference of 1890 is the monument of James 
G. Blaine. That body and work more fully than any other part of current history 
expressed and still expresses the genius, purpose and hope of the statesman. 
It shows Blaine at his best estate. His name is destined to be forever asso- 
ciated, not only with the Conference itself, but with those vast results which it 
may bear as the elements of progress are born in the capacious bosom of time. 
He was proud of his great Congress, and its pride in him was shared by the 
American people. It was the beginning of that epoch in his life when he stood 
no lnger for a single party of his countrymen, but for both parties and all 
parties alike. From that event his spirit began more and more, until the day 
of his death, to predominate over the opinions and impulses of the mighty 
nation which had given him birth and brought him to the stature of greatness. 




CHAPTER VIII. 



EPISODE OF THE PARIS LETTER. 

NE of the most interesting episodes in Mr. Blaine's 
career was that of the Paris letter on the tariff. Its 
production, as well as its substance, happily illus- 
trates the temper and genius of the man. It was 
in December of 1887 that the letter referred to 
was produced. The circumstances of its production 
have in them the roots of a good deal of current 
political history. It was at this juncture that Presi- 
dent Cleveland, then in the third year of his admin- 
istration, made his remarkable coup on the tariff question. 
A large surplus had accumulated in the treasury. The 
schedule of duties on the protected articles of the American 
market was high, averaging about forty-seven per cent on the 
whole of the commodities included in the tariff list. 

The existence of such a fact in the industrial and, indeed, 
the whole economic life of the people of the United States 
must needs provoke much controversy. Many other questions 
came in for their share of public concern. Up to this period 
it could hardly be said that the tariff issue was predominant 
over all others. At the opening of the congressional session, in December of 
1887, the President, departing from the usual custom, cast aside all other 
questions of governmental and political interest and took up in his message 
the sole issue of the tariff. He attacked the whole system and recommended, 
if not the positive abolition, at least the essential modification and abatement 
of the protective policy. 

The message was something of a bomb. The strength of the document 
could hardly be doubted. The measure was a daring innovation. It was in 
the nature of an attack on established opinion. The President's own party 
was by no means, at that juncture, a free trade party. The Republican 
party was certainly committed in a general way to protection. Apart from all 
politics, there had grown up a vast manufacturing interest in the United 
States under the aegis of protection, and perhaps stimulated into existence 
thereby. Certainly the whole manufacturing system was adjusted to the 
existing tariff and might almost be said to be a part of it. The attack of 
President Cleveland was therefore virtually against the stimulated industry 
and ostensibly in favor of the general producing interests of the country. To 

(189) 




190 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

this question all the message was devoted. The paper was a sensation, both 
in Congress and out of Congress, in political circles, and, indeed, in all circles 
whatsoever of American life. The message was the unexpected thing. For 
the day it took the political breath away. Some said that the President had 
wrecked himself. Others said that he had wrecked both himself and his 
party. Others said that he was a prophet. Some called him a statesman and 
others a madman. 

It appears that, in the general melee, nobody thought of answering the 
President's message ; that is, only one man thought of it, and that one man 
was James G. Blaine. Of course, there were answers galore ; but did any of 
them go to the heart of the question ? That was doubtful. It was needed as 
a stroke of Republican policy and leadership that somebody should at once 
enter the arena while the smoke of the explosion was not yet dissipated and 
while the walls were still hot, and answer the President on his own ground- 

The circumstances were not such as to lay this duty on Blaine. He was 
at that time living in the French capital. He was there occupying his 
faculties lightly and striving to regain his health. It was in the Blaine 
nature, however, to go off suddenly under friction. He could take fire on 
occasion as well as any other of our public men. The wonder is that he did 
not, in virtue of his temperament, sometimes take fire when there was no 
occasion at all. In this instance there was clearly an occasion, and the way 
in which Blaine, somewhat enfeebled though he was, responded to the 
emergency revealed at once his great capacity and the will which he pos- 
sessed to cope with any foeman, however great his prowess and advantageous 
his position. 

The Paris letter, which Blaine composed in answer to President Cleve- 
land's famous message, was telegraphed to the United States and printed in 
the New York Tribune in the form of an interview on the morning of the 
following day. The composition of such a production on such a subject and 
under such circumstances was a prodigious effort on the part of a sick man, 
more than three thousand miles from his country. The letter was composed 
by Mr. Blaine and given by him to George W. Smalley, the Paris corre- 
spondent of the Tribune, and by him cabled to the home paper in New York. 

We are fortunate in possessing and being able to reproduce from Blaine's 
own lips the story of this letter and the manner of his production. Near the 
close of his term of service as Secretary of State in the Harrison admin- 
istration, he was called upon by Mr. Henry W. Knight, of Brooklyn, to 
whom he detailed the circumstances, origin and production of the Paris letter. 
Mr. Knight had been for some years a personal friend of the statesman, and at 
the time indicated was in friendly converse with him on a matter of business. 
The subject of the tariff letter came up in connection with the amount of 
literary composition which a man might well produce under emergency in a 
day. Mr. Blaine related how, in Paris, he had known a number of literary 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



191 



men, who had spoken to him about their daily rate of production. But the 
story of the interview of Mr. Knight with the Secretary and the account 
given by the latter of the Paris letter is best preserved in the language of 
the former as he remembers and reproduces it : 

" I called upon Mr. Blaine," said Mr. Knight, " on the fifteenth of March, 
1892. At this time he gave me a photograph of himself, a copy of which 
appears as frontispiece of this volume ; at that time he stated to me that when 
he had this picture taken he left his house in Madison Place, went around to 
the photographer's and was back at home in eight minutes ! Of course, I was 
much concerned with Mr. Blaine's personal manner and appearance. It was 
clear to me that he was enfeebled 
in body and at intervals dulled in 
thought. It appeared that his mind 
flashed up fitfully that he was slow 
to begin and slow in the formula- 
tion of his thoughts. His mind at 
intervals seemed to be, as it were, 
awa}? from home. In the course 
of the conversation, however, he 
became both interesting and inter- 
ested. His fervor returned when 
the conversation touched upon such 
topics as revived great memories 
of great events in his life. 

" It was at this interview that 
Mr. Blaine recounted to me the 
circumstances of the writing of the 
famous Paris letter, which he sent 
from the French capital in answer 
to President Cleveland's tariff mes- 
sage to Congress. Blaine, at the 
time of my interview, was still 
performing the duties of Secretary 
of State, but was, as I have said, in impaired health. He had just recovered 
from an attack of la grippe. When the subject of the letter was touched 
upon, however, he aroused himself, and assuming all of his old-time spirit, gave 
me a very graphic account of the circumstances. 

"It seems that in Paris Blaine was still in his bedroom on the morning 
of the seventh of December, 1887, when Mrs. Blaine, who had just received 
the Paris paper containing the message of President Cleveland, came in. 
Mrs. Blaine said to him, 'James, here is a message to Congress from 
President Cleveland.' Mr. Blaine said, 'Read it to me,' and Mrs. Blaine 
proceeded to read it. When she had finished, Mr. Blaine, speaking of 




iy^ 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



himself, said with enthusiasm: 'I jumped out of bed and striking the table 
with my hand said, '"We can beat him on that message!'" I immediately! 
called a messenger and sent for George W. Smalley, who happened to be in 
Paris at the time. Mr. Smalley arrived and I said to him that I wished to 
send an answer to Mr. Cleveland's tariff message to the Tribune, and asked if 
he would be willing to send it over the cable. To this Mr. Smalley immedi- 
ately agreed. I thereupon sat down and hurried off the communication, and 
delivered it, a page at a time, to Mr. Smalley. The whole appeared, done 
into an interview by Mr. Smalley, in the New York Tribune on the following 
day. The letter seemed to define the issue between the two parties sharply, 

and became the keynote of the 
campaign which resulted in the 
election of Mr. Harrison to the 
presidency. After I had finished 
the document,' continued the Sec- 
retary, ' I was completely and thor- 
oughly used up. It was an over- 
task for a sick man, and I was 
unable to do anything for forty- 
eight hours afterwards.' " 

Mr. Henry W. Knight, to whom 
we are indebted for this interesting 
account of an interview with Mr. 
Blaine near the last days of his 
official life, is a prominent citizen 
of Brooklyn and an enthusiastic 
admirer of the subject of this vol- 
ume, to whose political interest he 
has contributed some of his most 
enthusiastic work. It may be re- 
called that in 1884 a sentiment 
of discontent appeared among the 
Republicans of Brooklyn, which 
was encouraged and promoted by the attitude of the leaders of the Young 
Republican Club. Of this body Mr. Knight was a member. Seeing the 
apathy and ill-concealed opposition to Blaine in the club, he at length led 
a revolt, which resulted in the successful organization of the Young Men's 
Republican Club of Brooklyn, which did such efficient work in the canvass. 
The movement was audacious and was ably led by Mr. Knight, who was thus 
brought into friendly and rather intimate relations with his unsuccessful standard- 
bearer. 

On the occasion of the interview described in the text Mr. Knight, who 
is a publisher, was negotiating with Mr. Blaine for the production of his last 




HENRY W. KNIGHT. 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 193 

literary work. This was his thesis on " The Progress and Development of 
the New World," which presently appeared from the press of the Historical 
Publishing Company, of Philadelphia, as the introduction to Columbus and 
Columbia a book issued by that house in the fall of the same year. 

This literary product, being the last which the statesman composed, and 
having intrinsic merits in connection with the Columbian year, we have the 
pleasure of reproducing in Chapter XVII. of this volume. 

We hereto append the Paris letter fn full, as the same was done into the 
form of an interview by Mr. Smalley, whose preliminary note, preceded by the 
Tribune headlines, is also added by way of introduction. 

THE PARIS LETTER OF BLAINE ON THE TARIFF MESSAGE OF THE PRESIDENT. 

Mr. Blaine on the Message The Issue will be Squarely Met A Powerful 

Arraignment of the President's Policy His Recommendations Freely 

Criticised Disastrous Consequences of Free Trade The Tax on Tobacco 

Should be Repealed before the Holidays The Tax on Whisky Should be 

Retained and the Surplus Used to Fortify America's Defenceless Coasts 

Southern Progress in Danger of being Checked Delusions of Foreign 

Trade The Fallacy of Admitting Raw Material. 

Paris, December 7. 
(By Cable to the "Tribune.") 

After reading an abstract of the President's message, laid before all 
Europe this morning, I saw Mr. Blaine and asked him if he would be willing 
to give his views upon the recommendation of the President in the form of an 
interview, if I would agree to send him an intelligent shorthand reporter, with 
such questions as should give free scope for an expression of his views. The 
following lucid and powerful statement is the result. Mr. Blaine began by 
saying to the reporter : 

" I have been reading an abstract of the President's message, and have 
been especially interested in the comments of the London papers. Those 
papers all assume to declare the message is a free trade manifesto and 
evidently are anticipating an enlarged market for English fabrics in the 
United States as a consequence of the President's recommendations. Perhaps 
that fact stamped the character of the message more clearly than any words 
of mine can." . 

"You don't mean actual free trade without duty?" queried the reporter. 

" No," replied Mr. Blaine. " Nor do the London papers mean that. They 
simply mean that the President has recommended what in the United States is 
known as a revenue tariff, rejecting the protective feature as an object, and not 
even permitting protection to result freely as an incident to revenue duties." 

" I don't know that I quite comprehend that last point," said the reporter. 

" I mean," said Air. Blaine, " that for the first time in the history of the 
United States the President recommends retaining the internal tax in order that 

13 



194 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

the tariff may be forced down even below the fair revenue standard. He 
recommends that the tax on tobacco be retained, and thus that many millions 
annually shall be levied on a domestic product which would far better come 
from a tariff on foreign fabric." 

THE TOBACCO TAX SHOULD BE REPEALED AT ONCE. 

" Then do you mean to imply that you would favor the repeal of the 
tobacco tax ? " 

"Certainly, I mean just that," said Mr. Blaine. "I should urge that it be 
done at once, even before the Christmas holidays. 

" It would in the first place bring great relief to growers of tobacco all over 
the country, and, would, moreover, materially lessen the price of the article to 
consumers. Tobacco to millions of men is a necessity. The President calls it 
a luxury, but it is a luxury in no other sense than tea and coffee are luxuries. 

"It is well to remember that the luxury of yesterday becomes a necessity of 
to-day. Watch, if you please, the number of men at work on the farm, in the 
coal mine, along the railroad, in the iron foundry or in any calling, and you will 
find ninety-five in a hundred chewing while they work. After each meal the 
same proportion seek the solace of a pipe or a cigar. These men not only pay 
the millions of the tobacco tax, but pay on every plug and every cigar an 
enhanced price, which the tax enables the manufacturer and retailer to impose. 
The only excuse for such a tax is the actual necessity under which the govern- 
ment found itself during the war, and the years immediately following. To 
retain the tax now in order to destroy the protection which would incidentally 
flow from raising the same amount of money on foreign imports is certainly a 
most extraordinary policy for our government." 

THE WHISKY TAX SHOULD BE RETAINED. 

" Well, then, Mr. Blaine would you advise the repeal of the whisky tax 
also?" 

" No, I would not. Other considerations than those of financial admin- 
istration are to be taken into account with regard to whisky. There is a moral 
side to it. To cheapen the price of whisky is to increase its consumption 
enormously. There would be no sense in urging the reform wrought by high 
license in many States if the National Government neutralizes the good effects 
by making whisky within reach of every one, at 20 cents a gallon. Whisky 
would be everywhere distilled if the surveillance of the Government were with- 
drawn by the remission of the tax, and illicit sales could not then be prevented, 
even by a policy as vigorous and searching as that with which Russia pursues the 
Nihilists. It would destroy high license at once in all the States. 

WHISKY SHOULD PAY FOR COAST DEFENCES. 

" Whisky has done a vast deal of harm in the United States. I would 
try to make it do some good. I would use the tax to fortify our cities on the 




IASBINATION OF EX-PRENIHEN T CAKFIELI 
VIEW OF BAR HARBOR. MAINE. 
BLAINE'S EULOGY ON GARFIELD. 



BLAINE'S RESIDENCE IN AUGUSTA, MAINE. 

BLAINE WRITING THE FAMOUS PARIS LETTER. 

BOYHOOD OF BLAINE. 



196 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

seaboard. In view of the powerful letter addressed to the Democratic party on 
the subject of fortifications, by the late Samuel J. Tilden in 1885, I am 
amazed that no attention has been paid to the subject by the Democratic 
administration. Never before in the history of the world has any government 
allowed great cities on the seaboard, like Philadelphia, New York, Boston, 
Baltimore, New Orleans and San Francisco, to remain defenceless." 
IN TIME OF PEACE PREPARE FOR WAR. 

" But," said the reporter, " you don't think we are to have war in any 
direction ? " 

"Certainly not," said Mr. Blaine, "neither, I presume, did Mr. Tilden 
when he wrote his remarkable letter. But we should change a remote chance 
into an absolute impossibility. If our weak and exposed points were strongly 
fortified ; if to-day we had by any chance even such a war as we had with 
Mexico our enemy could procure ironclads in Europe that would menace our 
great cities with destruction or lay them under contribution." 

" But would not our fortifying now possibly look as if we expected war ? " 

" Why should it any more than the fortifications made seventy or eighty 
years ago by our grandfathers when they guarded themselves against suc- 
cessful attacks from the armaments of that day. We don't necessarily expect 
a burglar because we lock our doors at night ; but if, by any possibility, a 
burglar comes, it contributes vastly to our peace of mind and our sound sleep 
to feel that he cannot get in." 

HOUSES AND FARMS PAY TOO MUCH TAX. 

" But after the fortifications should be constructed, would you still 
maintain the tax on whisky ? " 

" Yes," said Mr. Blaine, " so long as there is whisky to tax I would 
tax it, and when the National Government should have no use for the money 
I would divide the tax among the Federal Union with a specific object of 
lightening the tax on real estate. The houses and farms of the whole 
country pay too large a proportion of the total taxes. If ultimately relief 
could be given in that direction, it would, in my judgment, be a wise and 
beneficent policy. Some honest but misguided friends of temperance have 
urged that the Government should not use the money derived from the tax 
on whisky. My reply is that the tax on whisky by the Federal Govern- 
ment, with its suppression of all illicit distillation and enhancement of price, 
has been a powerful agent in the temperance reform, by putting it beyond the 
reach of so many. The amount of whisky consumed in the United States 
per capita to-day is not more than forty per cent of that consumed thirty 
years ago." 

After a few moments' silence Mr. Blaine added that in his judgment the 
whisky tax should be so modified as to permit all who use pure alcohol in 
the arts or in the mechanical pursuits to have it free of tax. In all such 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 197 

cases the tax could be remitted without danger of fraud, just as now the tax 
on spirits exported is remitted." 

" Beside your general and sweeping opposition to the President's recom- 
mendation have you any further specific objection?" 

WOOL-GROWERS MUST BE PROTECTED. 

"Yes," answered Mr. Blaine, "I should seriously object to the repeal of 
the duty on wool. To repeal that would work great injustice to many 
interests and would seriously discourage what we should earnestly encourage, 
namely, the sheep culture among farmers throughout the Union. To break 
down wool-growing and be dependent upon foreign countries for the blanket 
under which we sleep and the coat that covers our back is not a wise policy 
for the National Government to enforce." 

" Do you think if the President's recommendation were adopted it would 
increase our export trade ? " 

" Possibly in some few articles of peculiar construction it might, but it 
would increase our import trade tenfold as much in the great staple 
fabrics, in woolen and cotton goods, in iron, in steel, in all the thousand and 
one shapes in which they are wrought. How are we to export staple fabrics 
to the markets of Europe unless we make them cheaper than they do in 
Europe, and how are we to manufacture them cheaper than they do in Europe 
unless we get cheaper labor than the}' have in Europe?" 

THE LABOR QUESTION ITS VITAL IMPORTANCE. 

"Then you think that the question of labor underlies the whole subject?'' 

" Of course, it does," replied Mr. Blaine. " It is, in fact, the entire 
question. Whenever we can force carpenters, masons, iron-workers and 
mechanics in every department to work as cheaply and live as poorly in the 
United States as similar workmen in Europe, we can, of course,, manufacture 
just as cheaply as they do in England and France. But I am totalty opposed 
to a policy that would entail such results. To attempt it is equivalent to a 
social and financial revolution, one that would bring untold distress." 

" Yes, but might not the great farming class be benefited by importing 
articles from Europe instead of buying them at higher prices at home?" 

" The moment," answered Mr. Blaine, " you begin to import freely from 
Europe you drive our own workmen from mechanical and manufacturing 
pursuits. In the same proportion they become tillers of the soil, increasing 
steadily the agricultural product and decreasing steadilv the large home 
demand, which is constantly enlarging as home manufacturers enlarge. That, 
of course, works great injury to the farmer, glutting the market with his 
products and tending constantly to lower prices." 

WHAT WILL BECOME OF THE FARMERS ? 

" Yes, but the foreign demand for foreign products would be increased in 
like ratio, would it not ?" 



198 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

" Even suppose it were," said Mr. Blaine, " how do you know the source 
from which it will be supplied? The tendency in Russia to-day and in the Asiatic 
possessions of England is toward a larger increase of the grain supp^, the 
grain being raised by the cheapest possible labor ; manufacturing countries will 
buy their breadstuffs where they can get them cheapest, and the enlarging of 
the home market for the American farmer being checked, he would search in 
vain for one of the same value. His foreign sales are already checked by the 
great competition abroad. There never was a time when the increase of a large 
home market was so valuable to him. The best proof is that the farmers are 
prosperous in proportion to the nearness of manufacturing centres, and a pro- 
tective tariff tends to spread manufactures. In Ohio and Indiana, for example, 
though not classed as manufacturing States, the annual sale of fabrics is larger 
than the annual value of agricultural products." 

THE TARIFF OF 1 864 AND ITS RESULTS. 

" But those holding the President's views," remarked the reporter, " are 
always quoting the great prosperity of the country under the tariff of 1864." 

" That tariff did not involve the one destructive point recommended by the 
President, namely, the retaining of direct internal taxes in order to abolish 
indirect taxes levied on foreign fabrics. But the country had peculiar advantages 
under it by the Crimean War involving England, France and Russia, and 
largely impairing their trade. All these incidents, if you choose, were 
immensely stimulating to trade in the United States, regardless of the nature 
of our tariff but mark the end of this. European experience with the tariff 
of 1846, for a time gave an illusory and deceptive show of prosperity. Its 
enactment was immediately followed by the Mexican War; then, in 1S48, by the 
great convulsions of Europe; then, in 1849 and succeeding years, by the enormous 
gold yield in California. The Powers made peace in 1856, and at the same 
time the output of gold in California fell off. Immediately the financial panic 
of 1857 came upon the country with disastrous force. Though we had in these 
years mined a vast amount of gold in California ever}' bank in New York was 
compelled to suspend specie payment. Four hundred millions in gold had been 
carried out of the country in eight years to pay for foreign goods that should 
have been manufactured at home, and we had years of depression and distress 
as an atonement for our folly." 

HOW MR. BLAINE WOULD REDUCE THE REVENUE. 

" Then do you mean to imply that there should be no reduction ot the 
national revenue ? " 

"" No, what I have said implies the reverse. I would reduce it by prompt 
repeal of the tobacco tax and would make here and there some changes in the 
tariff, not to reduce protection, but wisely foster it." 

" Would you explain your meaning more fully ? " 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 199 

''I mean," said Mr. Blaine, "that no great system of revenue like our tariff 
can operate with efficiency and equity unless the chauges of trade be closely 
watched and the law promptly adapted to these changes. But I would make no 
change that should impair the protective character of the whole body of the tariff 
laws. Four years ago, in the Act of 1S83 we made changes of the character I have 
tried to indicate. If such changes were made, and the fortifying of our seacoast 
thus undertaken at a very moderate annual outlay, no surplus would be found after 
that already accumulated had been disposed of. The outlay of money on fortifica- 
tions, while doing great service to the country, would give good work to many men." 

" But what about the existing surplus ? " 

" The abstract of the message I have seen," replied Mr. Blaine, " contains no 
reference to that point. I, therefore, make no comment further than to endorse Mr. 
Fred Grant's remark that a surplus is always easier to handle than a deficit." 

POSSIBLE EFFECT OF THE PRESIDENT'S POLICY. 

The reporter repeated the question whether the President's recommendation 
would not, if adopted, give us the advantage of a large increase in exports. 

" I only repeat, " answered Mr. Blaine, " that it would vastly enlarge our 
imports while the only export it would seriously increase would be our 
gold and silver. That would flow bounteously, just as it did under the tariff 
of 1846. The President's recommendation enacted into law would result, as 
did an experience in drainage of a man who wished to turn his swamp into a 
productive field. He dug a drain to a neighboring river, but it happened, 
unfortunately, that the level of the river was higher than the level of the 
swamp. The consequence need not be told. A parallel would be found when 
the President's policy in attempting to open a channel for an increase of the 
exports should simply succeed in making way for a deluging inflow of fabrics 
to the destruction of home industry. " 

OUR OWN MARKET FOR OUR OWN PEOPLE. 

" But don't you think it important to increase our export trade ? " 
" Undoubtedly ; but it is vastly more important not to lose our own great 
market for our own people in the vain effort to reach the impossible. It is 
not our foreign trade that has caused the wonderful growth and expansion of 
the Republic. It is the vast domestic trade between thirty-eight States and 
eight Territories, with their population of, perhaps, 62,000,000 to-day. The 
whole amount of our export and import trade together has never, I think, 
reached $1,900,000,000 any one year. Our internal home trade on 130,000 miles 
of railway, along 15,000 miles of ocean coast, over the five great lakes and 
along 20,000 miles of navigable rivers, reaches the enormous annual aggregate 
of more than $40,000,000,000 and, perhaps, this year, $50,000,000,000. 

ILLIMITABLE FREE TRADE AT HOME. 
" It is mto this illimitable trade, even now in its infancy and destined to 
attain a magnitude not dreamed of twenty years ago, that the Europeans are 



200 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

struggling to enter. It is the heritage of the American people, of their child- 
ren and of their children's children. It gives an absolutely free trade over a terri- 
tory nearly as large as all Europe, and the profit is all our own. The genuine 
free trader appears unable to see or comprehend that this continental trade not 
our exchanges with Europe is the great source of our prosperity. President 
Cleveland now plainly proposes a policjr that will admit Europe to a share 
of this trade. " 

A NEW POLITICAL ECONOMY NEEDED. 

"But you are in favor of extending our foreign trade, are you not?" 
" Certainly I am, in all practical and advantageous ways, but not on the 
principle of the free traders, by which we shall be constantly exchanging dol- 
lar for dime. Moreover, the foreign trade is often very delusive. Cotton is 
manufactured in the city of my residence. If a box of cotton goods is sent 200 
miles to the Province of New Brunswick it is a foreign trade. If shipped 
17,000 miles around Cape Horn to Washington Territory it is domestic trade. 
The magnitude of the Union and the immensity of its internal trade require a 
new political economy. The treatises written for European States do not grasp 
our peculiar situation. " 

THE SOUTH NEEDS PROTECTION. 

" How will the President's message be taken in the South ? " 
" I don't care to answer that question. The truth has been so long 
obscured by certain local questions of unreasoning prejudice that nobody can 
hope for industrial enlightenment- among their leaders just yet. But in .my 
view the South above all sections of the United States needs a protected tariff. 
The two Virginias, North Carolina, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, Alabama and 
Georgia have enormous resources and facilities for developing and handling 
manufactures. They cannot do anything without protection. Even progress 
so fast as some of these States have made will be checked if the President's 
message is enacted into law Their Senators and Representatives can prevent 
it, but they are so used to following anything labeled ' Democratic ' that very 
probably they will follow the President and blight the progress made. By the 
time some of the Southern States get free iron-ore and coal, while tobacco is 
taxed, they may have occasion to sit down and calculate the value of Demo 
cratic free trade with a local interest." 



3 
- 



THE FALLACY OF ADMITTING RAW MATERIAL. 

" Will not the President's recommendation to admit raw material find 
strong support ?" 

" Not by wise Protectionists in our time. Perhaps some greedy manufac- 
turers may think that with free coal or free iron-ore they can do great things, 
but if they succeed in trying will, as the boys say, ' catch it on the rebound.' 
If the home trade in raw material is destroyed or seriously injured railroads 
will be the first to feel it. If that vast interest is crippled in any direction the 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 201 

financial fabric of the whole country will feel it seriously and quickly. If any 
man can give a reason why we should arrange the tariff to favor the raw 
material of other countries in a competition against our material of the same 
kind, I should like to hear it. Should that recommendation of the President 
be approved it would turn 100,000 American laborers out of employment before 
if had been a year in operation." 

A FULL AND FAIR CONTEST ON THE ISSUE. 

" What must be the marked and general effect of the President's 
message ? " 

" It will bring the country where it ought to be brought to a full and 
fair contest on the question of protection. The President himself makes it the 
one issue by presenting it in his message. I think it well to have the question 
settled. The Democratic party in power is a standard menace to the industrial 
prosperity of the country. That menace should be removed or the policy it 
foreshadows should be made certain. Nothing is so mischievous to business 
as uncertainty. Nothing so paralyzing as doubt." 

The foregoing interview contains about four thousand words. It was written 
by Mr. Blaine in a single day and passed page by page to the correspondent. 
The statesman was by no means in full force at the time ; but the reader will 
look in vain for any evidence of weakness or lassitude in the letter itself. It 
shows Blaine's capacity for doing a striking thing with great ability and in the 
shortest space of time. His mental discipline was as undoubted as his readiness 
was manifest. Many a writer, who can produce a light essay on imaginative 
or half-imaginative subjects of an extent approximately equal to Blaine's 
production, would break and fail under the pressure of facts and argument. 
It was an audacious thing in the great Republican leader to essay an answer 
to a presidential message in a single day, and to send that answer under the 
sea and deliver it to his countrymen in a form which a large part of the 
most intelligent of the American people believed to equal the President's 
document, if it did not positively confute and destroy it. The exploit was 
memorable in the political history of the quadrennium, and, as Mr. Blaine 
himself believed, made up the issue between the Republican and Democratic 
parties for the presidential contest of the following year. 




^TWfk* 



CHAPTER IX. 

PERSONALITY, HOME-TRAITS AND 
CHARACTERISTICS. 

D although men whose exertions have been 
crowned with any degree of honor, and who have 
rendered themselves conspicuous to the world 
ought, perhaps, to regard only that personal merit 
to which they owe their celebrity ; yet, as in this 
world it is necessary to live like other people, 
I must, in commencing my narrative, satisfy 
the public on some few points to which its 
curiosity is usually directed." These words 
from the prefatory reflections with which 
Benvenuto Cellini enters upon his autobio- 
graphy declare a truth which finds a vivid 
illustration in the work written in the spirit 
he thus indicates, namely, that of willingness 
to " satisfy the public ' as to matters purely personal and apart from his 
"personal merit" as an aitist. 

Among the world's most famous books, place is universally conceded to 
Cellini's Autobiography, Boswell's Johnson, Pepys' Diary, and the Essays of 
Montaigne. They are always fresh and new and charming to each successive 
generation, because they possess an attraction to civilized men of every race and 
time in that they disclose in fullest detail the daily lives, the personal habits 
and tastes, motives of action, and the fears, foibles and weaknesses of their 
subjects and authors ; they satisfy the curiosity, which is a universal human 
trait. 

If these life-histories are so cherished on account of their frank self- 
revelations of men in whom the world has otherwise no particular interest, how- 
much more valuable must be information as to the personal characteristics of 
individuals who are acknowledged to belong to the great of the earth ! Colonel 
Iugersoll styles George Washington " a steel engraving." The aptness of the 
characterization is evident. We honor and revere the name of Washington, the 
patriot hero ; but he is a personage whose worth we recognize, not a man whom 
we can seem to see clearly and to know. Grant, too, will no doubt, appear tc 
posterity more as a demi-god than as a man. Both the Founder and the Preserver 
of the nation were so grave in character and demeanor, so retiring in their 
nature, and of such reticence of speech except in the society of a few intimate 

(202) 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 203 

friends, that they will be generally seen and known only as occupants of the 
exalted niches wherein fame has placed them. So far as the evidence extends, 
or for lack of it, they do not seem to have "lived like other people," or to 
have been closely in touch with their fellow-men. 

The public is not curious to know the personal side of the lives of its heroes 
in the hope of finding something there to detract from the largeness of their 
fame. It desires to see their common every-day qualities and peculiarities, even 
weaknesses, that it may establish a bond of union and sympathy between them 
and the "average man," and comfort itself with the thought that strength and 
genius lie in the development of the nature and powers which all possess. 

The Cromwells, Washingtons and Grants appear to have been held in 
obscurity by the hand of a prescient fate to be brought forward in an emergency 
none else could meet. As in the legend of the Indian fight at Hadley, the 
regicide Goffe suddenly appeared at the critical point of the fray, and, with 
superhuman heroism, turned the scale in favor of the whites, and then as mys- 
teriously vanished, leaving a sensation of awe among those he had rescued, so, 
when on great occasions or at dangerous junctures, such men as these have 
sprung lip and led to victory, as if divinely delegated for the duty of the hour, 
something of mystery and leverential regard attaches to them forever. The 
public does not expect to know them as intimately as other men are known. 

The case is different as to those who have grown to greatness gradually 
before the eyes of the public and in its service. The relation is closer and the 
mutual attachment acquires a warmth of human interest which, on the part of 
the public, leads to a desire to be admitted to a thorough and intimate acquaint- 
ance with the object of its admiration, and to transmit the fullest information 
in regard to him that posterity may see "the great Achilles whom we knew." 
Of this class Blaine was pre-eminently a representative. He was emphatically 
a tribune of the people. 

Entering public life at the age of twenty-four he was continuously and, 
after the first few years of his apprenticeship, conspicuously before the people 
until his last hour. His personal acquaintances and friends were to be found 
in every State and Territory and numbered a host. His political friends and 
admirers comprised nearly the entire Republican party. Whatever exceptions 
there may have been for one cause or another were probably offset by a 
personal following drawn from the ranks of the enemy. His intellectual ability, 
his readiness and ingenuity in debate, his faithfulness to the principles of his 
party and absolute fearlessness in defending them, whether on the floor of the 
House or " on the stump," combined with his attractive personal qualities to 
constitute him a popular idol without a peer in American history. 

Colonel Ingersoll happily hit the popular conception when he styled Blaine 
" The Plumed Knight." At that name there springs up before the mental 
vision a noble presence tall, erect, and robust form, instinct with vigorous life 
and energy, moving with a brisk, decided step, and an alert air indicative of 



204 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



dashiug courage ; a countenance lighted up by large, luminous dark eyes, singu- 
larly expressive of the keen intellect and magnetic power behind them, genial 
as a summer's day to those he loved but terrible to his enemies, when the fray 
was on ; a bearing hearty, frank, and debonair, yet with a consciousness of 
power suggestive of the lists in which his clear, resonant voice was wont to 
ring out in victory over many a champion, and of readiness to meet whatever 
foeman might challenge and Blaine stands before us, a knight " sans penr e' 
sans reproche?' 1 

It was a fortunate turning-point in Blaine's life that took him at the out- 
set of his career to Augusta and the Third Congressional District. Augusta, 
even now a city of but ten thousand inhabitants, is the capital of the State, and 




BUWES RESIPENCE, Al'd'STA, ME. 

during Blaine's long incumbency of the chairmanship of the Republican State 
Committee was easily the political centre as well. The Third District embraced 
many large towns and some of the finest farming sections of the State, and its; 
people were engaged in a great variety of pursuits shipbuilding, fishing, lime- 
burning, granite-quarrying, ice-cutting, manufactures of cotton and woolen goods, 
paper, wood-pulp, tools and machinery, and in lumbering and farming ; it was! 
a prosperous portion of the State and the district extended from Canada to the 
ocean. It was, and is, a typical New England community in point of intel-i 
ligence, enterprise, diversity of employment, and interest in public affairs, quick 
to recognize superior ability and faithful to "the servants who prove faithful to 
their duties and reflect honor upon their principals. It sent George Evans, the 
great Whig statesman, to represent it in Congress five successive terms. 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 205 

Blaine was fortunate too in his choice of occupation. As editor of a 
political journal he speedily found that a public life was that in which he could 
best use his natural and acquired faculties and powers, and was the path to 
which his tastes and aspirations invited him. His vocation necessarily brought 
him in contact with local political leaders from all parts of the district, and thus 
opened the way to the Legislature and to Congress. 

The residence of the Blaines in Augusta is a wooden house of the good 
old fashion ; square, two-storied, of ample size, with large sunny rooms, most 
of which are provided with the open fireplaces, which are such important adjuncts 
to homes in New England, since " the blazing hearth " promotes healthfulness 
and cheerfulness through the long dark winters, and is in itself an object of 
beauty and of attractive associations. 

At about the time Blaine was elected Speaker of the National House of 
Representatives, more room was needed to accommodate his family, and receive 
the many callers and visitors, who came from many quarters of the country, 
and on divers errands, and a large square addition, nearly a duplicate of the 
house proper, was joined to the "L" and divided into rooms for a library, 
billiard-room, and other offices. The carriage house and stable are just in the 
rear of the house, and access to them is by, a short driveway from the side 
street. The house is on the corner of State street, the principal residence 
street of the city, and Capitol street. It front is on and a few yards from 
State street and between the house and Capitol street there is a lawn of 
moderate size. Maple trees of mature growth shade the front of the house and 
lawn. On the opposite side of Capitol street, the State-house is situated on 
a slight eminence in the midst of terraced and well-shaded grounds. From his 
library window the nation's statesman could look out upon the scene of his 
early triumphs in the State Legislature. The house was comfortably furnished 
and books, etchings, photographs, curios, and many " objets d' art" and 
souvenirs, such as are found in every household of refinement, lay scattered 
about the drawing and reception rooms in the usual picturesque confusion. 

There was an air of use about the apartments which did not belie the 
fact. Home, office and headquarters were all under the same hospitable roof. 
The requirements of a family of eight persons, visiting friends, social callers and 
a constant stream of political pilgrims left no room for that apartment of sacred 
seclusion which is so dear to the heart of the New England housewife. The 
entire house and its appointments seemed dedicated to use and comfort. In 
nothing was there displayed any aim at ostentation. 

The friends and neighbors of the Blaine family greatly enjoyed the one 
effort which the colored driver and " useful man " made at what he considered 
a proper display. On the Sunday following Blaine's nomination for the 
presidency, the proud retainer drove to the door with a hired landau and pair 
from the livery stable, whence the turnout rarely emerged except to do honor 
to " distinguished guests " in processions and on other occasions of ceremony, 



206 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

intending to drive the Republican nominee and his family to church in 
befitting state. The sudden retrograde movement which he was obliged to 
make when his delicate attention was brought to the notice of the proposed 
beneficiary, surprised and saddened the ambitious coachman. The family 
walked to church as usual. 

In that mansion used to be 
Free-hearted hospitality. 

The Augusta home was occupied in the months of summer and early 
fall, during the recess of Congress, and in that period was crowded with 
scenes of animation and busy life. The children were then at home for the 
school or college vacation, and they often brought schoolmates with them. 
Mr. and Mrs. Blaine were seldom without guests from among their friends in 
all parts of the country. But the political life which centred there, and the 
social occasions incident to it and to Mr. Blaine's prominence in public life 
caused the greater portion of the stir and movement that pervaded the house 

The State of Maine had not then adopted biennial elections, so that a 
political battle had to be fought every year. The State election, especially in 
presidential years, was a very important one, and of national interest, 
inasmuch as it occurred early in September, and thus served as an index of 
the popular sentiment and tendency. For this reason the State was a battle- 
ground to which each party summoned its ablest leaders and advocates, and 
the people thus enjoyed exceptional opportunities for listening to the oratorical 
efforts of the champions of both parties. It may be suggested, in passing, 
that perhaps the unique consequence of the Maine election furnished no 
inconsiderable vantage-ground to Mr. Blaine, since it attracted the attention of 
the country to him as the representative of the party by virtue of his chair- 
manship of the Republican organization. 

The "spellbinders" who enlisted at Blaine's call either went directly to 
him for assignment, instructions and hints for the conduct of the campaign 
or so arranged their peregrinations that they would call upon him and 
" discuss the situation." Frequently these visits gave occasion for a social 
entertainment of some sort a dinner, a drive, a "tea," or a reception. The 
friends of the family in Augusta and nearly all the people of the town, 
irrespective of party, came under that designation were thus largely indebted 
to this hospitable home for delightful gatherings which enabled them to meet 
the political lions of the day and to enjoy the presence and conversation of 
their entertainers a pleasure always prized by them. There were some 
memorable occasions in honor of specially distinguished guests, when the 
house was filled to overflowing with guests from all parts of the district andj 
from the State at large. 

Among these were the reception given to General Grant when he was, 
paying a friendly visit, the welcome to Logan, who had come to confer with 
his colleague, and the joyous gathering to greet and honor the California! 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. '207 

delegation to the National Convention which had nominated Blaine, whose 
enthusiasm at the success of the man of their choice impelled them in a body- 
to supplement their already long journey by a pilgrimage to Maine, that they 
might in person present their congratulations and grasp the hand of the 
leader they so loved and admired. Tact and the instincts of genuine 
hospitality were never at a loss to devise fitting attentions for all comers 
entitled to consideration. A flying and unheralded visit by the officers of the 
Russian man-of-war which had suddenly appeared upon the coast and was 
then at anchor in a Mount Desert harbor, where it remained for some time, 
to the great mystification of the quidnuncs, gave no time for elaborate 
attentions, but that household was not without resource in an emergency. 
There was prompt response to the summons hastily sent around, and the 
Russians had an opportunity to dazzle Yankee maidens with their glittering 
uniforms and to waltz with them at an improvised "soiree datisante." These 
instances are drawn from the many to which the memory of those who had 
the good fortune to participate in them will revert with pleasure when 
recalling the happy days that are no more. 

Mr. Blaine nowhere appeared to better advantage or seemed happier than 
at his home at Augusta. He had a great affection for the city where his young 
manhood was passed, and for the people who gave him the first promotion in 
his career and faithfully supported him in his subsequent course. The home- 
coming was oftentimes a physical delight ; especially when the " long session " 
had continued into the heart of summer and he had left behind the hot, 
stifling, mid-summer atmosphere of Washington, to breathe the clear, healthful 
air of the Kennebec Valley, and soothe his eyes by resting them on the bush 
verdure that clothed its fields and hills. It was also a mental relief from the 
continuous strain of his exacting congressional duties ; although he was far 
from returning from work to the enjoyment of an idle holiday season. The 
duties awaiting him at home were for the most part of a kind he enjoyed, and 
either permitted the combination of pleasure with them or afforded intervals for 
recreation. 

As already indicated, one of his vacation functions was the supervision of 
the campaign as chairman of the Republican State Committee. His colleagues 
of that committee, members of local committees, candidates for State offices, and 
others interested in politics, made up a steady succession of visitors to the home 
of the party leader. Through these visitors Mr. Blaine became thoroughly 
conversant with the influences at work to affect political sentiment and the 
prospects of the party in the different parts of the State, and could, therefore, 
intelligently make arrangements to meet the peculiar requirements of each 
locality. Whether there were factional contentions to be quieted, the "disgruntled" 
and disappointed to be appeased and encouraged, or the listless and lukewarm 
were to be stimulated to interest and activity inside his own lines ; or the mis- 
representations, crafty designs and weak inventions of the enemy were to be 



208 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

corrected, checkmated and turned to their own confusion, Mr. Blaine's tact and 
experienced wisdom were swift to hit upon the course to be taken, and his 
counsels were prompt, clear and decided. At the same time he profited by these 
visits to renew and strengthen the ties between himself and old friends and 
co-workers, and to ascertain the measure and quality of the new men, par- 
ticularly the young men coming forward into the political arena. And few 
there were among them who did not go away from his presence confirmed in 
zeal for the cause and inspired with confidence in its success ; filled with 
admiration at the ability and "smartness" of "Jim Blaine" as he was often- 
times affectionately or derisively called, the emphasis and intonation marking 
the intention of the speaker and, under the spell of the wonderful magnetic 
power of presence and voice and eye and smile and warm heartiness of 
manner that even his enemies have always conceded to Blaine, not only feel- 
ing a heightened regard for him, but assured that the sentiment was a 
mutual one. 

Distinguished speakers from other States also were to be entertained and 
to be informed as to the conduct of the campaign. Blaine's tactics were always 
of the aggressive sort. He did not believe in allowing the enemy to dictate 
the ground and conditions of the battle, nor in wasting energy by standing on 
the defence or attacking too many points at once. He sought to find the weak 
place in his opponents' line and when found he concentrated his forces upon it 
and hammered away at it with merciless persistence. 

In addition to these party representatives and campaign assistants who 
thronged about the chairman, there was the considerable company of gentlemen 
and their "friends" who were willing to take service under the Government 
and desired their aspirations to be made known through the medium that was 
believed to be among the most powerful ; there were constituents who wished to 
see their " member" on business, or to impart their " views " to him, or simply to 
greet him on his return home ; and individuals who, coming to the capital on 
business at the State-house or some other public institution, could not think of 
reporting to the people at home, perhaps in farthest Aroostook, Washington or 
York, that they had been to Augusta and had not " had a chat " with Blaine, 
or, at least, shaken hands with him. His relations with his constituents were 
reciprocally close and appreciative. They gave him their confidence and admira- 
tion, and he felt a pride in them which he was always ready to justify by 
instances and illustrations of their title to respect and esteem. His personal 
acquaintance among them was very extensive, and in many cases partook largely 
of the nature of affectionate attachment, akin to the spirit of comradeship 
existing in student life and among soldiers the feeling engendered by a 
common aim and service. The frankness and bonhomie of Mr. Blaine's nature, 
his alertness of mind and readily awakened interest in those with whom he came 
in contact and in the subjects they were interested in, and the faithfulness of 
his memory, greatly intensified this feeling. 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 209 

Mr. Blaine attracted much regard and affection because he gave much. He 
was extremely fond of meeting the strong, original characters among his con- 
stituents. It mattered not whether they were rich or poor, learned or unlearned ; 
he delighted in freshness and independence of thought and speech, and if 
accompanied by a little brusqueness or eccentricity of manner, as is usually the 
case, it was all the better and more enjoyable. He quoted with glee the 
contemptuous inquiry of the veteran " practical politician " from a remote 
part of the district, when the movement in behalf of reform was in its early 
stage, " what's this Civil Service Reform they're talking about ? Jest a new 
way of appointing clerks, ain't it ?" The dry remark of one of the oldest of his 
fellow-townsmen, whose " wit was not out," though " his age was in,'' were 
ofteu repeated by him with appreciative enjoyment. He was particularly fond of 
the conclusion which the old man was wont to draw when in a retrospective 
mood he compared the days of his youth, when the world was young and as 
yet the " Maine Law " was not, with the tameness of life in the present day, 
and sighed regretfully, " we used to have a good deal better times in the last 
cent'r}' than we're having this." 

One of the secrets of the charm which Mr. Blaine exercised over all with 
whom he conversed lay in the tact which brought out their taste and 
interest, and the courtesy and skill with which he turned the conversation to 
those subjects. With the scholar he would talk of books and reading as 
enthusiastically as if he thought the life of a " book-worm " the only one worth 
living, and the man who thought the earth had no pleasure like "spinning 
over the road at a cheerful gait " behind a Knox colt, felt sure after " talking 
horse " with him, that Mr. Blaine was, after all, a kindred spirit. In the presence 
of the fond parent he did not forget the promising son, and the son of a father 
who was in any way distinguished blushed with the reflected glory cast upon 
him. The variety of pursuits followed by his constituents afforded a wide range 
of topics, and Mr. Blaine could be equally entertaining to his listeners whether 
he showed knowledge of matters pertaining to his occupation or manifested an 
interest in being informed about it. 

In this course he was not insincere or influenced entirely by politic con- 
siderations. The courtesy that seeks to please for pleasing sake is quite different 
from the craft that beguiles for selfish ends. The desire to please was in him 
the outgrowth of a generous disposition. His mind, too, was confined to no 
narrow rut, but delighted in exploring every path that was opened before it. 
His interest and sympathies were " as broad and general as the casing air." 
Of him it can be more truly said than of any other man prominently before 
this generation, " he was a man and nothing relating to man was foreign to 
him." He possessed in a high degree skill in " the art of putting things." 
The following is an example of his readiness and point : 

After his nomination as a candidate for the presidency, he was called upon 
by an influential member of the Society of Friends a society which has several 
14 



210 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

communities and many representatives in the old Third District and a highly- 
respected friend of the candidate as well. " Friend James," said the man of 
plain speech, " I have come early to see thee because in all likelihood cares are likely 
to increase upon thee rapidly, and there is a matter I earnestly desire to interest 
thee in. Thee knows that our people have greatly at heart the welfare of the 
Indian tribes. If thee shall be called to the high office of President we desire to 
feel that that unfortunate people will have in thee a friend willing to exercise his 
powers for their good." " Friend William," was the quick response, "members 
of my family are to-day living in Pennsylvania upon lands purchased of the 
Indians by our ancestor. Now is it likely that I should be otherwise than 
kindly disposed to the Indians?" "Friend James, I think we can trust thee," 
was the satisfactory conclusion of the interview. 

" Stumping," walking and driving were his chief physical exercises and 
recreations. Speaking is in itself a good exercise and brings into play a greater 
portion of the human framework and organs, and tests the bodily strength more 
severely than those without experience would believe possible. Mr. Blaine was 
a forcible, energetic speaker, and a speech gave him as much exercise as a bout 
in a gymnasium. He seemed to enjoy addressing his fellow citizens in exciting 
political campaigns, but to take care not to allow his zeal to carry him too far 
and imperil his physical powers. "Stumping the State" implied a good deal 
of touring and picnicking as well as speech-making, and herein was recreation 
of the most agreeable kind to him. 

The attractions of Maine as a summer resort for seekers after health and 
the pleasing and picturesque in scenery are becoming well known throughout 
the country. There could not be devised a more pleasing itinerary for a summer 
holiday season than the yachting trips along its coast and into its deeply 
penetrating bays, and the drives through its fragrant, cool woods, over its hills 
commanding far-reaching stretches of forest and field, with frequent lakes and 
streams interspersed, which were necessary in campaigning, and served greatly 
to soften whatever asperities attended it. The cordial and enthusiastic reception 
that every public gathering gave him, and the hearty greetings of political and 
personal friends at every halting-place served as a complement to the pleasures 
of the tour and to make of it a gala progress. Especially happy were the occasions 
when the appointment was within the compass of a day's drive, and he could 
take Mrs. Blaine or a family party with him, rest near some picturesque way- 
side spring for a picnic luncheon, and return home after the meeting through 
the coolness and beauty of the summer evening. 

Driving was one of his favorite recreations perhaps first among them. It 
was a rare combination of pleasures both to the driver and his fares when 
Mr. Blaine drew the reins over a pair of spirited horses, and with a party of 
friends, among them frequently some guest of national fame, explored the roads 
that checker the beautiful and diversified country of Kennebec County. Talk 
grave and gay, jest and repartee and mirth and laughter, mingled with the 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 211 

sound of the beating hoofs and the rattle of harness, and marked all the way 
as they sped on under leafy arches and by smiling fields, and long as the drive 
usually was, it seemed all too short when, in the gloaming, it came to an end. 
He was a skillful " whip" and safe driver. His own family horses were selected 
for gentleness as well as spirit, but he enjoyed testing his mettle as a "holder 
of the ribbons." 

One incident of a visit in California he used to speak of as if he renewed 
in the retrospect the " pleasing fear " of its excitement. His host, one of the 
celebrated " nobs " of California, whose house and appointments were on a 
princely scale, took him and a party of friends on a four-in-hand drive to the 
ranch of a neighbor, twenty-five or thirty miles distant. Mr. Blaine sat on the 
box by the side of his host, who was driving, and he soon perceived that the 
mettle of the horses was fast overpowering the strength and skill of his friend, 
and that the danger-point was very near. The friend confessed his alarm, 
whereupon Mr. Blaine took the leaders in hand and both together had all they 
could do to maintain sufficient control of their respective charges to bring a 
wild ride to a safe conclusion at the journey's end. 

Mr. Blaine was a great lover of horses ; not as a connoisseur in horseflesh, 
but as an admirer of the strength, beauty and high courage of the noble 
specimens of the animal. The horse, more than any other of the animal tribe, 
exemplifies power in action ; and kinship in nature with this quality, no doubt, 
had its part in the attraction the strong man, who rejoiced in his strength in 
the fields where his own courses were run, felt towards the kingly beast that 
"smelleth the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains and the shouting." 
His stable was on the same modest scale as the rest of his establishment and 
seldom contained more than three horses. 

Walking was also an agreeable exercise to him, and his constitutionals took 
him often far afield in the country about Augusta. He was a brisk walker, 
the vivacity of his temperament and the strength of his vital powers appearing 
in this as in his other actions, both bodily and mental. His erect form and 
firm, quick step gave him the air of an athlete. His walks were taken alone 
or in company, as his convenience and the chance of companionship might serve. 
Neither did he have any rules as to their time or extent. In walking or 
driving he appeared to have that reasonable love of nature and observation of 
its charms common to all well-balanced minds ; perhaps his keen powers of 
perception gave him a greater regard for it than men like him, whose genius 
was practical rather than poetical, generally have. If, on the one hand, he did not 
have a Wordsworthian enthusiasm for nature, he certainly did not have that 
obliviousness and indifference to its protean aspects which characterized Rufus 
Choate, whose biographer relates that, walking one exceptionally beautiful spring 
morning on the Common with him, he saw Choate's countenance light up as 
his eyes seemed to take in the lovely scene, and as he opened his lips the 
friend thought the great orator was about to acknowledge the sweet influences 



212 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

of the morning ; but, instead, the man of books and introspective life broke forth 
with " How fine is that sentence of Southey's on the death of Nelson, in the 
hour of victory ' That joy, that consolation, that triumph, was his!'" 

Mr. Blaine's public utterances and papers were entirely free from merely 
rhetorical and ornamental use of literature. He made no pedantic excursions to 
Greece or Rome, culled no flowers from English classics. He was always too 
much in earnest, too eager to accomplish some definite purpose, to use other than 
the most straightforward language and the plainest illustrations tending to the 
end in view. But in conversation he showed a familiarity with the best litera- 
ture which proved that at some period of his life he had had a student's curiosity 
to explore its fields. His knowledge of general history and its great men was 
full and exact. The political annals of his own country had nothing which he 
had not made his own, and the statesmen and leaders of its past were as clearly 
before him as his contemporaries. 

The library at the Augusta home did not contain a large number of 
volumes, but the books upon the shelves, and piled on table, chairs and floor, for 
service past or at hand, constituted a good working equipment for a statesman 
and student of politics. Near him by a short walk was the State Library, in 
which Mr. Blaine had taken great interest when he was a member of the Legis- 
lature, and to which he had rendered a special and valuable service by discover- 
ing an unfinished remnant of space in the crowded building and causing it to 
be fitted up for its occupancy. He found time to read whatever in current 
literature " everybody was reading," and could sympathize with his children in 
their impatience for the next chapter of " Little Lord Fauntleroy." 

If Pope's dictum be accepted as true, Mr. Blaine was orthodox. His 
"proper'' and favorite study was "men." He liked to meet and know men in 
books, but his preference was for live men. One of the greatest attractions of 
Washington's life to him was the facilities it affords for contact with the 
strongest and most brilliant minds of the country, and distinguished represent- 
ative men of other countries, either sojourning at the capital or visiting it in 
the course of their travels. The rare social and conversational talents that 
distinguished him nearly as much as his abilities and achievements as a states- 
man and parliamentarian, brought him into social relations with everybody of 
distinction at the National Capital. How welcome to the world would be the 
memoirs and table-talk of such a man and such a life. 

The daily papers which chronicled everything relating in any way to the 
invalid whose apparently mortal illness was watched with solicitude and 
sympathy by his countrymen, noticed that an organ-grinder was one day 
playing in front of the house, apparently at request, and, it was supposed, for 
the pleasure of the sick man within ; and they remarked upon his fondness 
for popular music. The papers were right for once, at least. Mr. Blaine was 
exceedingly fond of lively and pleasing airs tunes that are whistled. " Pinafore" 
was a great favorite, and he hardly missed an opportunity of listening to that 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



213 



captivating burlesque. There were sometimes informal matinees at the Augusta 
home, when the, call of some musical friend would be " improved " by the host, 
who would keep on suggesting this and that from Gilbert and Sullivan, as 
long as consideration for the performer would permit. 

In organization of both mind and body, he was eminently sound, whole- 
some and sane; yet, in proof that he lived "like other people" he had some 
peculiarities which could hardly be considered personal, inasmuch as he shared 
them with large numbers of people in other respects strictly conformed to the 
normal standard. He had at least one pet superstition. It is not remembered 
that he ever went hungry rather than sit thirteen at table; but, just as 




THE SOUTH PARISH CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH, AUGUSTA, ME. 

Dr. Johnson disliked passing by a post in his walks without touching it, so 
Mr. Blaine preferred not to make one of the unlucky number, and would avoid 
doing so if possible. He was " spleeny " about his health and bodily condition. 
Not that he ever put on airs of invalidism or allowed his anxiety to be 
apparent ; but his physician and intimate friends knew that he took note of 
the slightest twinge or ill-feeling and wanted an explanation of it, and to be 
assured that it was not a symptom of some insidious ailment, before he could 
be perfectly easy in mind. The precautions he took to keep well were such as 
prudent men ordinarily take exercise, care in eating and drinking, sufficient 



214 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

sleep, and the avoidance of excess in anything. He neither disdained the pleasures 
of the table nor enjoyed them as a gourmand. He drank no spirits, and but 
little wine ; his wit did not require the provocation of stimulants to shine forth at 
the dinner-table. The rule laid down by some celebrated physician, " abstinence 
till forty, then temperance," was often quoted by him with approval. 

The support of a family which in these days may be considered large ; the 
expense attending frequent changes of residence from Augusta to Washington 
and_back ; and the liberal and hospitable way of living that characterized the 
household, must have absorbed his salary and made drafts upon his income 
from other sources as well. While Mr. Blaine was not regarded by his fellow- 
townsmen as a wealthy man, it was generally believed by them that he was in 
receipt of handsome returns from coal fields in Pennsylvania, which his knowledge 
of his native State and sagacity in foreseeing the developments of the near 
future, had led him to purchase earl}' in the war, when they could be bought 
at a low price, because of their remoteness from means of transportation. When 
facilities for carriage were supplied these fields at once became valuable for 
mining purposes. In making investments he was advised and aided by shrewd 
and able men of business among his friends. If Daniel Webster had friends 
and admirers ready to contribute to supply the frequent deficiencies in that 
improvident statesman's exchequer, it can easily be conjectured that James G. 
Blaine, whose friends were not less ardent in their attachment, had many oppor- 
tunities for profitable ventures presented to him by men who knew whereof they 
spoke. In later years his book, " Twenty Years of Congress," and other fruits 
of literary labor, added materially to his income. 

The fact that the mother of James G. Blaine was a communicant of the 
Roman Catholic Church gave occasion for the frequently recurring rumors that 
were rife that he had confessed that faith. Soon after taking up his residence 
at Augusta he united with the South Parish Congregational Church, and was a 
faithful attendant upon its sendees whenever he was at home. His church 
never questioned his loyalty. His was not a nature to be bound narrowly by 
any creed. Those who knew him long and well cannot but consider that the por- 
tion of his memorable eulogy on his chief and friend, Garfield, which relates to 
the religious side of the martyred President's life, is applicable to the eulogist as 
well ; that both had the same reliance on the great truths of the Christian faith, 
the same regard for " the simpler instincts of religion," and an equal spirit of gen- 
erous tolerance and true catholicity. No man's belief can be positively known. 
Conduct is the test of character before the world. In his attitude towards his fellow- 
men, by blamelessness of life, uprightness of character, openness and simplicity 
of manner, and purity of thought and speech, Blaine was a Christian gentleman. 

Six children survived to maturity three sons and three daughters Walker, 
the eldest of these, was born in Augusta, May 8, 1S55. He fitted for college 
at the Augusta High School, entered Harvard in 1S73, left there at the close 
of his sophomore year and finished his course at Yale, graduating in 1877. 



LIFE AND WORK or JAMES G. BLAINE. 



215 



After two years at the Columbia Law School he entered the office of Hon. 
Cushmau K. Davis, at St. Paul. When his father entered the cabinet of Garfield 
in 1881, Walker went with him, and the last official act of Garfield was the 
appointment of Walker Blaine as Third Assistant Secretary of State. Subse- 
quently he was appointed assistant to Governor Creswell, counsel for the 
United States before the Alabama Claims Commission. He made a trip to 
Alaska in 1S83 and wrote a very interesting account of it. He was a ready 
writer and speaker, and a frequent contributor to the New York Tribune and 
leading magazines. He died, unmarried, January 15, 1890. At the time of his 
death he was examiner of claims in the State Department. 




..^s 





STATE CAPITOL, AUGUSTA, ME. 

Walker Blaine bore a strong resemblance to his father in personal appear- 
ance, manner and characteristics. His death in the early years of his manhood, 
when he was entering upon the successful, career his friends predicted for him, 
was a severe blow to the family, especially to the father, who lost in him a 
valuable assistant as well as a dearly loved son. 

Alice Blaine, the eldest daughter, married Colonel J. J. Coppinger, of the 
army, in February, 1883, and died at her father's house in Washington, 
February 2, 1890, leaving two sons, Blaine, born 1883, and Connor, born in 18S5, 
who lived a large part of their infant years with their maternal grandparents, 
and seemed to inherit their mother's share of her parents' love in addition to 
that which they held in their own right. 



21 1 ; LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

Emmons Blaine was a graduate from Harvard in 1878. He Had marked 
ability and taste for business, and engaging in railroad management he rapidly 
advanced to important and responsible positions. He was courteous and popular 
and had a wide circle of warm friends. He died after a brief illness, in June, 
1892. His wife, to whom he had been married but a short time, was Miss 
McCormick, of Chicago. 

Margaret Blaine was married to Mr. Walter Damrosch, the well-known 
musical composer and conductor, and resides in New York. The two youngest 
of the family, Harriet and James G. Blaine, Jr., keep, with their mother, the 
stricken and shadowed home. 

The Augusta home of James G. Blaine, once the scene of abounding life, 
activity and happiness, is now untenanted, dark, lifeless and joyless. It is 
hallowed by memories of a family life, having mutual affection for its soul and 
guide ; of neighborly welcome to good cheer and pleasant converse ; of the open 
door and the open hand to the poor and needy who never turned from its 
threshold uncomforted. 

It is also a place of historic interest. From an improvised platform in the 
corner of these home grounds the chairman of the committee of the convention 
which nominated Mr. Blaine for the presidency made the formal announcement 
to the candidate in the presence of the large number of the committee, and of 
the friends and fellow-citizens who were in attendance. From these steps, 
shaded b}' the maples that screen the house-front from the street, the defeated 
candidate addressed his political friends in a calm, philosophic strain upon the 
causes of defeat, and with words of cheer for the future. 

In that room, both office and library, ticked the little fateful instrument 
that told of disaster and disappointment when hope and expectation had been 
high. Many of the greatest and most famous men of the time have been 
familiar guests within its walls. In the perilous days of the "count-out," when 
a rival state government threatened the peace of the State, leaders in the party 
from all sections of the endangered commonwealth, assembled in that long 
parlor and conferred together, with all the anxious solemnity imposed by the 
imminence of tumult and bloodshed, upon the means of securing justice and 
averting civil war ; and the host was the quiet, courageous and wise director of 
their deliberations. 

The fame of that little spot of .earth is secure. There lived " The Man 
from Maine." 



CHAPTER X. 




RETIRACY AND LAST DAYS. 

|fN instances not a few the public men of our country, 

leaders of affairs and sentiment, have sought, near 

the close of their lives, a period of repose and seclusion 

from the excitement and worry which were the 

necessary incidents of their careers. Thus, for many 

years, did the elder Adams and Jefferson ; thus did 

the Father of His Country attempt to gain respite 

and peace in his old days ; thus did Jackson at the 

Hermitage ; Webster, at Marshfield ; Clay, at Ashlaud. 

Our statesmen have generally been rational enough to desire 

some interval of repose before the closing scene. Many have 

been forced into retirement and others, diligently seeking it, 

have found it not. A majority have died in the act and article 

of publicity. Not a few have fallen in and around the Capitol, 

where their supreme energies have been expended. 

It does not appear that Mr. Blaine ever studiously sought 
retirement from public life. He often spoke to his friends about 
it as a thing desirable. He was wont to express the wish that 
he might free himself from the cares and anxieties of office. 
But his temperament was not well adapted to seclusion and rest. 
His life was under the law of action, of unrest, of ambition. 
The probability is that he entertained vaguely the notion and desire of retire- 
ment from the public gaze ; but it can hardly be doubted that the wish remained 
that the public gaze might follow him and rest upon him. He was not a man 
of seclusion. His habits were fixed by publicity and adapted to it. 

Circumstances, however, make and unmake the destinies of men. The law 
of the relation of the circumstance to the will has never been determined. 
But we may allow to the former a very strong influence in limiting the 
action of the latter. It was the vicissitude of public life that brought 
Blaine near the close of his career into an extended period of retirement. 
This covered the interval between his first and second service in the office of 
Secretary of State, and also the interval after his resignation from the Harrison 
Cabinet. 

It should be remarked that his going out of the State Department was in 
each case contrived by historical conditions and was not the result of his own 

(217) 



218 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



antecedent purpose or desire. In the one case, the assassination of the President, 
and in the other the peculiar political maelstrom that whirled around determined 
the event. 

Mr. Blaine had, during the interval of his retirement from public office, 
three residences, all of which have acquired fame by the fame of the occupant. 
The first of these was in Washington City, on the east side of Lafayette Park, 
near Pennsylvania Avenue. It was the large red-brick house which was already 
celebrated as the former residence of Secretary Seward. There, in an upper 
room, on the evening of the fatal fourteenth of April, 1865, the assassin Powell 
had sprung upon the couch of the sick Secretary of State and desperately 
attempted to stab him to death. The house and the surroundings are all his- 




BI,AINE'S SUMMER HOME AT BAR HARBOR. 



torical much more so since they have been the scene of the last days of 
James G. Blaine. 

The second home of the statesman was his old place in Augusta. For this 
he always retained a fond desire, and was, for many years, glad when opportunity 
came to re-occupy that house where he had passed his early life. From that 
station he had risen to national fame. It may be doubted whether a man ever 
actually fits himself with completeness and harmony into any home but one. If 
we should select among the places in which Mr. Blaine has lived, that one 
which, in the natuie of the case, answers best to the name of home, we should 
have to choose the old house in Augusta. 

The advantages of a summer seaside residence appealed to Mr. Blaine and 
led him to select for his third home his place at Bar Harbor, Maine. The name 




HOMES AND BIRTHPLACES OF GREAT AMERICANS. 



220 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

of Bar Harbor lias now become iudissolubly associated with that of Blaine 
more so, indeed, than either of his other homes. In this connection, there is an 
element of picturesqneness and poetry which we should not expect to find in a 
Washington residence or even in the home at Augusta. 

The Bar Harbor villa of Mr. Blaine is situated on Mount Desert Island. 
From it a splendid view of the Bay of Mount Desert is had. In the last years 
of the statesman he became greatly attached to this place. A tradition goes 
that he had, during the larger part of his life, had his eye upon Mount Desert 
Island as a possible summer resort and home for himself and family. He was 
wont to tell visitors of a time when he might have purchased the island for 
five hundred dollars! That was in 1S56. At that time Mr. Blaine was in the 
Legislature of the State. The representative occupying the next seat was called 
" old man " Rodick. The latter invited Mr. Blaine to his home, and he accepted 
the invitation. Rodick owned the island and when Mr. Blaine expressed his 
admiration for the place and rejoiced in the sea view, the proprietor offered to 
sell it to him for five hundred dollars. 

The Blaine villa is surrounded with a broad veranda, and the porches where 
the family were wont to spend the greater portion of their time during their 
summer residence are broad and commodious. The air here is exhilarating and 
the view of the sea is full of inspiration and grandeur. In his last years Mr. 
Blaine spent much of his time on the porch of the Bar Harbor villa, where he 
was delighted to have his grandchildren playing around and to enjoy his own 
reverie. Thither also, many distinguished people came. Though Mount Desert 
is a secluded place, seclusion with Blaine was impossible. 

We have spoken above of his residences in Washington. The first of these 
was the house Number 821, in West Fifteenth Street. Here he lived during the 
first ten years of his congressional career About 1873-74 he determined to 
build for himself a new and elegant residence. He chose as the site a situation 
on Dupont Circle. The house was expensive and showy, but for some reason 
was never admired or much occupied by the owner. It got for itself, indeed, 
the name of " Blaine's Folly." The owner spent about eighty-five thousand 
dollars on the house, and subsequently rented it to Mr. Leiter, at twelve thousand 
dollars per annum. The place is now known, and has been for many years, 
as the Leiter House. 

The third Washington residence is the Seward house referred to above. It 
was built in the early part of the fifth decade, and was first occupied by Secre- 
tary Spencer, whose son, for an alleged mutiny, was hanged at sea. Afterwards 
the Washington Club occupied the building, and it was in the street in front of 
it that Philip Barton Key was shot to death by General Daniel E. Sickles. In 
addition to the attempted assassination of Seward, other shadows have settled 
upon the place. The wife of Secretary Belknap died there in an unexpected 
hour. Between 1890 and 1S93, the two eldest children of James G. Blaine 
Walker Blaine and Mrs. Coppinger died here, and here the great Secretary 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



221 



himself breathed his last. Really the house is likely to become haunted with 
a suspicion of death and disaster. 

It is thought that the assassination of Garfield and Blaine's consequent 
resignation from the Cabinet led to his abandonment of the Dupont Circle house. 
Afterwards he never lived there. When with the election of Harrison he was 
appointed Secretary of State he took up his residence in the Seward house on 
Lafayette Square, and there remained almost constantly until his death. 




STEAMER CITY OF NEW YORK OX WHICH MR. BLAINE CROSSED THE OCEiN. 

We have already spoken, time and again, of Mr. Blaine's work in 
literature. His history of the public life of the nation, from the accession of 
Lincoln to the administration of Garfield, is one of the standard works of the 
epoch. This he produced in the time of his retirement from public office. The 
first volume was written before 1SS4 when he became a candidate for the presi- 
dency, and the second volume after his defeat. It is perhaps to the combined 
effect of ambition and disappointment that we owe the production of this 
invaluable contribution to our literature. 

James G. Blaine was an assiduous worker. Few men, who have appeared in the 
public life of the American nation, have applied themselves more industriously 



222 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



and persistently than he. Of course, many have produced more in composition ; 
but we are to remember that the recluse, the man in private life, has opportunity 
to produce without hindrance or distraction, from day to day, and from mouth 
to month. 

Probably the politician, least of all men, has such opportunity. He is every 
man's man and is so reckoned in the catalogue. It is with the utmost difficulty 
that the man in public life is able to seclude himself and concentrate his powers 
upon a subject with sufficient emphasis and persistency to accomplish anything 
in a literarv way. Blaine triumphed over this obstacle. He wrote much, both 
in office and out of office. His principal literary work was produced when he 

was out of office ; but his other 
productions are so multifarious 
and extensive that they would, 
if collected, furnish the subject- 
matter of maii} r volumes. A 
large part of the author's time, 
between the date of his retire- 
ment from the Arthur Cabinet 
and his canvass for the presi- 
dency, was consumed at the desk. 
There he prepared, with great 
care, the first volume of his 
history of Congress. 

The greater part of the last 
ten years, covering his period 
of retirement from office, was 
spent by Mr. Blaine in Wash- 
ington. In 1S87 he was abroad 
in Europe. When in the United 
States he passed the greater 
part of his time in summer at 
Bar Harbor. His visits t o 
ex-speaker thomas b. reed, of maine. Augusta, after 18S4, became 

infrequent. There was an evidence of inactivity and of breaking health in his life 
and manner. We have referred to his sunstroke in 1876. Eleven years afterwards 
he had a slight attack of paralysis. It appeal's that the blood-vessels of the 
brain were, to a certain extent, obliterated, and the circulation correspondingly 
impeded. It is clear that his highest thinking ability could not be exercised 
under such conditions. The death of his three eldest children, in whom he 
was greatly interested by affection and hope, coming suddenly within a space 
of two and one-half years, distressed him beyond measure. In the next place 
the political project of 1892 ended in a fiasco. Once Mr. Blaine was induced, 
after the renominatiou of Harrison, to visit the residence of Whitelaw Reid, 







LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 223 

candidate for the Vice-Presidency, at his home called " Ophir Farm," near 
White Plains, New York, and to make there a brief address. This was 
the last occasion on which he spoke in public. After his return to Wash- 
ington, he weakened perceptibly, and in November his strength finally 
gave way. The interest in him, in his opinions, his desires and purposes, 
continued unabated; but it was evident to all that his active career was in 
the last act. 

It is now known as will be seen from the subsequent report of his physi- 
cians that Mr. Blaine had blight's disease of the kidneys. Connected with 
this insidious and fatal maladj^ were two or three other incipient ailments that 
would ultimately have taken him to the grave. One of these was the progres- 
sive obliteration of the capillary blood-vessels of the brain. This must ulti- 
mately have ended in apoplexy and sudden eclipse. Another trouble was a 
tendency to phthisis. This was not to have been apprehended in a man of his 
robust and athletic appearance. It would seem, however, that he had what is 
known as the hemorrhagial diathesis ; that is, a constitutional disposition to 
rupture in the capillaries with consequent bleeding and tendency to pulmonary 
disease. 

At any rate, the Bright's disease, with which Mr. Blaine was afflicted, ran 
its own fatal course and presently struck both the lungs and the brain. In 
the after part of November, 1S92, Mr. Blaine became so much enfeebled as to 
be confined to his house. In December he was so greatly weakened that he 
was brougrht to the couch from which he was destined never to arise. He was 
not, however, in imminent danger until near the close of the year, when it was 
found that the heart's action was also greatly weakened and disturbed, and 
from this time forth it was only a question of weeks and days when the knock 
of the pale messenger would be heard at the door of the chamber. 

At the last the death of Blaine came suddenly, unexpectedly. He 
had lingered through several weeks in a state bordering on extinction, and it 
was believed that he would probably survive for a few weeks longer. There 
was great uncertainty in the public mind with regard to his disease ; the physicians 
were reticent as professional men are and the family were little disposed to 
/ speak of the nature of the malady with which the statesman was prostrated. 
Newspaper correspondents busied themselves with conjectures not a few and 
the public was left in doubt as to the issue. 

This uncertainty continued to the end, and was not dispelled until the 
day after Mr. Blaine's death. On that morning ihe attending physicians, Doctors 
Johnson and Hvatt, made an official statement and gave it to the public ; 
this was as follows : 

The beginning of Mr. Blaine's illness dates back some years. The earliest 
signs of ill health were associated with, and no doubt due to, a gouty tendency, 
which manifested itself in sub-acute attacks of gout, disturbances of digestion 
and progressive innutrition and anaemia. , 



224 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



Subsequent events prove that at this time changes were going on in the 
arteries of the body, which resulted later in symptoms of obliteration of vessels 
and iu chronic disease of the kidneys. The attack of paralysis in 1S87 was 
connected with similar alterations in the blood vessels of the brain. 

During the summer of 1S92 the evidences of failing health were more 
decided, and in November, on his return to Washington, his symptoms suddenly 
assumed an aggravated form. From this time, although there were periods of 
apparent improvement, he continued to grow worse from week to week. The 
symptoms were, at first, more directly connected with the kidneys, and examina- 
tions of urine showed that there 
was a progressive interstitial 
change going on in that organ, 
and that he had a form of chronic 
Bright's disease. 

In December signs of lung 
complication appeared, which 
were no doubt connected with 
the general disease, but as tuber- 
cle bacilli were found in the 
sputa ic is probable that there 
was some tubercular infection 
as well. Much of the distress 
which Mr. Blaine suffered was 
associated with this disease of 
the lungs, and his death was 
certainly hastened by it. 

Towards the end of Decem- 
ber the heart began to show 
signs of unusual weakness from 
cardiac degeneration and dila- 
tion, and on December 18 he 
had an alarming attack of 
but others of the same nature 





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"^SK 




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ra 



Hied, 



JOHN W. FOSTER, SECRETARY OF STATE 

heart exhaustion ; from this he 
recurred on several occasions. 

From the middle of January these attacks ceased, and the action of the heart 
was more uniformly good. There was, however, a daily loss of flesh and strength. 

For three days before Mr. Blaine's death there was no marked change in 
his condition ; each day he seemed somewhat more feeble than on the day before, 
and on the night before his death he did not seem to be in any immediate danger. 
Towards the morning of the twenty-seventh instant his pulse was observed to 
be very feeble and his breathing more embarrassed. As a result of the failing 
heart action, cedema of the lungs occurred, and he died without much suffering at 
eleven o'clock. 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE 



225 



During the whole of Mr. Blaine's illness the digestion was well performed, 
and liquid food, chiefly milk, was taken in full quantities. His mind was 
generally clear, except when clouded by uraemia and disturbed brain circula- 
tion, and although unable to express himself in words, he recognized all the 
members of his family up to within a few moments of his death. 

Drs. Janeway and Loomis, of New York, were called in consultation and ren- 
dered important service by their advice. 

William W. Johnson, M. D. 
Frank C. Hyatt, M. D. 

As we have said, death came in an unexpected hour. On the morning 
of January 27, 1S93, the distin- 
guished patient was found by 
his physicians to be in a sinking 
condition. His vital forces had 
evidently given away beyond 
the hope of rally. For the past 
two weeks the physicians had 
employed the powerful stimula- 
tion of nitro-glycerine ; it was 
not deemed prudent, however, 
on the last morning to resort to 
this expedient further. There 
was really nothing remaining to 
be done but to await the coming 
of death. 

All the members of the 
family were now present. Mr. 
Blaine had been in a semi-con- 
scious condition for several days. 
It was believed by those in 
attendance that he was still 
able to recognize the members 
of his household and other 
friends, though he gave little sign of doing so; he spoke not. The eloquence 
which had so greatly moved the American public for a quarter of a century 
was forever stilled. Gradually the stupor of death supervened, and the final 
moment came in quietude and peace. There was no convulsion or apparent 
pain ; death ensued at eleven o'clock a. m., on the day referred to. Instantly 
the event was known and was flashed by wire to the remotest corners of the 
Republic. 

The impression produced on the public mind was, indeed, sensational. No 
such marked effect had been witnessed on the occasion of the death of any 
citizen since that of Lincoln. This, indeed, was the first noticeable impression 

'5 




STEPHEN B. ELKIN'S, SECRETARY OF WAR. 



226 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



given out by the newspaper press. Washington City was stirred to the heart. 
The President of the United States immediately issued an appropriate proclama- 
tion announcing the death of James G. Blaine and recounting briefly the prin- 
cipal incidents of his life. Orders were at once given that all the departments 
of the Government should be closed as a mark of respect to the great Secretary, 
and that in particular the Department of State should be draped for thirty 
days. Congress was in session at the time of the announcement, and in both 
Houses motions were immediately made for adjournment. The terms in which 
the speakers referred to the death of Mr. Blaine were of a kind to indicate the 
profound hold which he had on the public esteem. This action on the part of 

the two Houses was entirely 
without respect to party. The 
leading members of the Demo- 
cratic party referred in the 
most complimentary, eulogistic 
and even affectionate terms to 
the deceased, as did also the 
leaders of the party with which 
Mr. Blaine had been always 
identified. 

The tone of the newspaper 
press, on the morning of the 
twenty-eighth, showed conclu- 
sively the place which Mr. Blaine 
had attained in the estimation 
of his countrymen. The journals 
of the day, without respect to 
party, published page on page of 
biography and incident, and sup- 
plemented this with long and 
able editorials reviewing the life 
and work of the statesman. 
Joseph h. manlev, of maine. The articles thus published 

were almost without exception in the nature of eulogies ; the terms employed 
by sedate editors were such as could only properly be used in speaking of 
the greatest. Many of the authors used the comparative method, and the 
merits of the great Secretary, as a statesman and citizen, were set in favorable 
juxtaposition with those of the most distinguished statesmen of the century. 
He was compared with Clay, with Seward and with Lincoln. It was held by 
many that the dead had occupied a place not second to any other statesman 
and publicist of his time. These opinions were read and commented upon by 
the thousands who eagerly sought the morning papers, to review the events of 
Mr. Blaine's life and to verify their own opinions of his character and worth. 







'V& <SP 






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LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



227 



Preparations were at once taken for the funeral. There was considerable 
anxiety to learn the intentions of the family with regard to the place and 
circumstances of burial. It had been supposed that Mr. Blaine's body would 
be taken to Augusta for interment, but it was decided that the sepulture 
should be made in Oak Hill Cemetery, Georgetown ; perhaps Mr. Blaine had 
himself chosen the spot as his last resting-place. Public expectation pointed 
to a funeral in keeping with the character and prominence of the dead. The 
American people like to do honor to distinguished citizens. And they are 
quick withal to forget the animosities and party divisions which constitute 
so large a part of the political and public life of our country. They are 
anxious to accord to the great 
dead the full meed of praise 
which was perhaps withheld 
during: his life. The better 
qualities of our citizenship come 
out on such occasions ; the bit- 
terness of life is forgotten in 
the bitterness of death ; the 
hearse of the great is usually fol- 
lowed in America to the cemeterj'- 
with the impartial and universal 
sympathy of his countrymen. 

The public expectation 
pointed to a magnificent funeral. 
The pageant has become a part 
of the burial of public men. 
We have had some remarkable 
examples of this in the last 
quarter of a century. The 
funeral of Lincoln was sponta- 
neous and universal. The nation 
buried him. The same ma}' be 
said with little limitation in the senator w. p. fryk, of main*.. 

case of Garfield. The burial of Grant was one of the most remarkable scenes 
witnessed in modern times second only to that of the Duke of Wellington. The 
funeral of Hendricks was in like manner a magnificent expression of national 
mourning. It remained for the sturdy General Sherman to arrest this tendency 
and to demand for himself the simple funeral of a soldier. We do not presume 
to decide between the two sentiments, one of which suggests the pageant as an 
expression of public grief, and the other of which points to private burial. 

The event of Blaine's death showed that that statesman had decided for 
himself in favor of a private and unostentatious ceremony and burial. Indeed, 
he had strictly enjoined it upon his family that no display beyond what w r as 
















fffiisftfai ? 








3HPs^ -*s^l'-*^ -* i- 











228 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

necessary in a simple and respectable funeral should be given to himself. It 
was known after his death that he had a great repugnance to public exhibitions 
of sorrow. Mrs. Blaine at once announced a private funeral and sent a request 
that no official notice should be taken of her husband's death ; this, however, 
was to a certain extent overruled by Honorable John W. Foster, Secretary of 
State. It chanced that at this very time the departments at Washington were 
draped in respect to the memory of ex-President Hayes, who had died only a 
few days previously. It was agreed that the outward signs of mourning on the 
State Department should be retained with the double significance of betokening 
the death of the ex-President and the ex-Secretary of State. 

The death of Mr. Blaine occurred on the forenoon of Friday. It was 
determined by the family that the funeral should take place at the same hour, 
namely, n o'clock a. m., on Monday, the thirtieth. Everything was to be private 
rather than public. During the interval the body of Mr. Blaine was placed in 
one of the rooms of the Seward house, and there many visitors came to view 
for the last time the well-known face. Otherwise the interval between Friday 
and Monday was uneventful. The newspapers continued to be filled with 
tributes to the dead and with estimates of his genius. Meanwhile, the following 
pall-bearers were selected : Senators W. P. Frye and Eugene Hale, of Maine, 
John T. Morgan, of Alabama ; Representatives Thomas B. Reed and C. A. Boutelle, 
of Maine, Robert R. Hitt, of Illinois, and Henry H. Bingham, of Pennsylvania ; 
General Thomas Ewing, of Ohio ; John Hay, of Washington ; Joseph H. Mauley, 
of Maine ; Almet F. Jenks, of Brooklyn, and P. V. P. Elv, of Boston. 

The funeral proper was held at the Church of the Covenant, at which Mr. 
Blaine had for some years been an attendant. The pastor of that church, Rev. 
Teunis S. Hamlin, was the officiating clergyman. The church had been prepared 
for the occasion with a wealth of flowers ; but the customary draping in black 
was replaced with white ribbons. It was one of the peculiarities of Mr. Blaine 
to desire that the lugubrious effect produced by black drapery should not be 
seen and felt at his funeral. 

The church selected for the ceremonies was small, having a seating capacity 
of 011I3 7 about nine hundred. This space was nearly all reserved for certain 
persons who, in the nature of the case, must be present. This included the 
President and his household, members of Congress and of the Diplomatical Corps 
and other distinguished personages, besides the personal friends and relatives 
of the dead. The same simplicity was observed in the matter of music. This 
was limited to a voluntary on the organ performed by Mr. Walter Damrosch, 
Mr. Blaine's son-in-law. Corresponding simplicity was seen in the casket, 
which was of red cedar, covered with black, with plain silver mountings and a 
plate bearing this inscription : 

JAMES GILLESPIE BLAINE, 
Born January 31, 1830. 
Died January 27, 1893. 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 220 

In connection with the funeral, the old question of Mr. Blaine's religion 
was evoked. For several weeks there had been rumors that he had chaneed, or 
was about to change, the Presbyterian belief to which he had adhered from 
boyhood, for that of the Mother Church. It is said that Mr. Blaine was in 
his infancy, at the insistence of his mother, baptized as a Catholic child. After- 
wards, however, as he came to years of reflection, he preferred the faith of his 
father, and joined himself to the Congregational Church. During his last illness 
it was repeatedly published that he was going back to the faith of his mother. 
This proved not to be correct. True, Cardinal Gibbons was a friend of Mr. 
Blaine and visited him during his last sickness ; but it would appear that this 
visit was made for other than religious consideration. 

There has always been some diversity of views on the question of the true 
faith in the Blaine household. The oldest daughter, on her marriage to Colonel 
Coppinger, became a Catholic and died and was buried in that faith. The other 
children were Protestants. Walker Blaine and his sister, Mrs. Coppinger, were 
buried in the cemetery at Georgetown, the spot being selected by their father on 
the sad occasion of his oldest son's death. There also the sister was presently 
buried, and there, too, the statesman determined to rest at the end of the journey. 

Despite the efforts made to make the funeral a private one, the people 
of Washington, and, indeed, of the whole country, were little disposed to have it 
so. James G. Blaine could not be privately buried ; that is, his mortal remains 
could not be sent in privacy to the tomb. As to the deathless part, the historical 
part, that had been already canonized. 

The morning of January 30 came bright and clear, and at an early hour 
Lafayette Square and the surrounding streets began to be thronged with people. 
The pressure of the crowd became very great ; but there was an impressive 
silence and no disorder. All business about the governmental departments had 
ceased. The most distinguished men of the nation and many from foreign 
countries sought to testify by their presence, both at the Seward mansion and 
the Church of the Covenant, their profound interest in the occasion. 

The arrangements contemplated no service at the residence except a prayer 
by Dr. Hamlin and music by Mr. Damrosch. The latter was rendered in a 
subdued strain during the utterance of the prayer. The body of the dead states- 
man was placed in the casket in the large parlor on the second floor. It was 
covered and banked around with the choicest floral offerings. The casket itself 
rested on a bed of roses, violets, palm leaves and ferns. There was a ship of 
state sent by the Knights of Reciprocity, and a wreath contributed by the 
President of the United States. 

Only a few persons could be accommodated in the parlor. These included 
President Harrison ; his daughter, Mrs. McKee ; the Vice-President and his wife ; 
the members of the Cabinet and their families. After the brief service at the 
residence, the casket was transferred to the hearse. The vast throng in the 
streets and in Lafayette Square stood with uncovered heads while the procession 



230 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



was formed tending to the Church of the Covenant. At that place a guard had 
been stationed from early morning in order that the auditorium might be reserved 
for the family and friends. The church is situated at the corner of Connecticut 
Avenue and N Street, opposite to the British legation. The decorations of the 
building within, and particularly of the pulpit and railing, were rich and 
impressive. Everything that the artistic taste, assisted by the fragrant 
and beautiful contributions of nature in blossom and vine, could suggest, was 
appropriately set about the last resting-place of the casket of James G. 
Blaine last on this side of the windowless chamber. 

At the Church of the Cove- 
nant it was found impossible to 
admit the public or any unin- 
vited guests. The funeral pro- 
cession reached the building at 
noon. The hearse was borne up 
the aisle preceded by Dr. Hamlin, 
repeating solemnly, as he came, 
the Presbyterian service for the 
dead. After the minister came 
the honorary pall-bearers, and 
then the family and friends. 
Mrs. Blaine was not present, 
being so greatly depressed in 
health and spirits as to be 
unable to leave the residence. 

One of the touching inci- 
dents of the service was the 
performance of a voluntary on 
the organ by Mr. Damrosch, 
who took the place of the regular 
organist for the occasion. Then 
charles foster, secretary of treasury. followed the praver and the 

address by Dr. Hamlin. The crowd about the building was very great. When 
the services were concluded, the flowers which had accumulated to an indescrib- 
able extent around the altar were gathered up and removed to the cemetery. 
The members of the family and their friends then entered their carriages and, 
following the hearse, began the procession to Oak Hill Cemetery, Georgetown. 
About one hundred carriages, including those of the Vice-President and mem- 
bers of the Cabinet, were in line. Spectators were thinly scattered on either 
side of the way all along the route. 

It was a clear day, with only a few clouds for the sun to struggle with 
new and then. In the prosperous parts of the city men and women gathered 
at the windows to see the procession go by. In the poorer streets, through 




LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 231 

which the funeral passed on the way to Georgetown, mothers, black and white, 
brought their children to the doors and offered them the fine parade of carriages 
full of distinguished people as a pleasing diversion in their quiet lives. One 
little hut marked in numerous places "Keep dry," and "This side up with 
care," which had evidently been built up of dissected packing cases, produced 
no less than seven small colored children, who showed their appreciation of the 

fine display. 

It was a long drive to the cemetery, going as the funeral procession did, 
at a slow walk. The hearse, which had left the church at 12.45 P- m -> reached 
Oak Hill, the burying-ground, shortly after two. The cemetery was ci'owded 
with men, women and children, who had gathered in the morning to look at 
the open grave. With difficulty the funeral party managed to clear a way 
through the curious crowd from about the Blaine plot. The immediate relatives, 
intimate friends and members of the Cabinet grouped themselves about the 
grave. The ground was soft, muddy and partly covered with snow. The 
general crowd of sightseers pressed about as closely as possible and ranged 
themselves on the slanting terraces of graves that mark the hillside above 
the Blaine plot. Beside the open grave there was a large mound of fresh red 
earth. Seven men dressed in long blue flannel blouses reaching below the knee, 
and fastened at the waist with big brass buckles, stood with long-handled 
spades ready to pile in the dirt upon the coffin. 

Mr. Blaine's body was committed to the earth with a short prayer. It was 
lowered into the grave with the flowers still lying upon the coffin lid, and 
immediately the seven grave-diggers with long blouses fell to piling in the earth. 
For a while the women of Mr. Blaine's household stood sobbing as the work 
went on. Before it had been finished they had been led away. 

One after another the members of the Cabinet withdrew. Air. Wanamaker 
remained later than any of his associates, gazing sadly upon the work of the 
seven men. Finally, he, too, departed, leaving young James G. Blaine alone 
with the crowd of curiosity-seekers beside his father's grave. He waited until 
the task of filling the grave and sealing the brick vault had been completed. 
Then he, too, went away. 

For almost an hour the crowd surged about, worrying the policemen and 
grave-diggers with their attempts to despoil the grave of its flowers. Policeman 
No. 36 should be commended for the manner in which he enforced the law and 
administered reproof simultaneously. Those he had to combat were women. 
His unfailing and patient remonstrance was : " Ladies, if you don't know better 
than to take flowers off the grave, I shall have to teach you." 

Beside the grave of Mr. Blaine are those of Emmons Blaine and Mrs. Alice 
Blaine Coppinger. A white marble cross marks Mrs. Coppinger's grave. There 
is room perhaps for two more graves in the plot in which Mr. Blaine lies 
buried. There is no room for anything more than a very simple headstone to 
mark his resting-place. In front of the Blaine plot there is an open space 



232 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



upon which an imposing monument might be built, but it has been purchased 
as a family plot by Mr. Norris. On Mr. Blaine's right, as he lies in his 
grave, is a headstone marked simply " Peter Palmer," and on his left the 
grave of Stephen Glegg Rowan, Vice- Admiral of the United States Navy, 
who lies buried beside his wife. Not far from where Mr. Blaine lies, in a 
more thickly settled point of the cemetery, is the grave of John Howard 
Payne, author of "Home, Sweet Home." The body was brought here from 
Tunis, where Payne died, by W. W. Corcoran, whose remains lie in a vault 
near by. It was he who gave to Washington for cemetery purposes the 
tract of land, of which the Oak Hill Cemetery consists. 

Here then was the final 
scene. To this all men must 
come. Here in the earth the 
body of one of the greatest of 
modern Americans was laid with 
such simple ceremonies as he 
himself had prescribed as most 
befitting his exit from the world. 
We may not more appropri- 
ately conclude this biography 
than with a brief extract from 
an eye-witness who, standing 
in the cemetery, in the afternoon 
when the burial was over, saw, 
to his surprise, the bereaved 
widow come with an attendant 
or two to see the last resting- 
place of her distinguished hus- 
band. The account is given 
in the words of the special 
correspondent of the New York 
World, and with this pictur- 
john noble, secretary of interior. esque and sorrowful scene we 

end our narrative of the Life of James G. Blaine : 

" At four o'clock this afternoon, the crowds that had filled the cemetery 
had dispersed. Only a few children ran about the muddy walks and played 
in the half-melted snow of the grave-yard. A woman, deeply veiled, walked 
down the winding path to the grave and leaned against the trunk of the dead 
tree. It was Mrs. Blaine. 

" At her feet were thousands upon thousands of roses, violets and lilies, 
shutting out from sight the scar which marked her husband's resting-place in 
the earth. All about were low mounds marking other graves, some of 
children and some of old men. Many were trampled down and disfigured by 




LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



233 



the thousands who had struggled for a last look at her husband's coffin. 
Behind her the sun was going down. Before her was a deep ravine, a 
swollen brook rushing through it, and beyond a gloomy series of red hills. 
Above the hills she could see the white shaft of the Washington Monument, 
the dome of the Capitol and the roof of the State Department building, 
beyond which, but visible, was the White House. Occasionally a few children 
gathered about with their hands behind their backs to contemplate the lady 
heavily veiled. They were warned away by an old man in charge of the 
cemetery gate, who had undertaken the task of protecting the flowers on the 
grave until the gates should close. 

" After almost an hour spent by the dead tree at the head of the grave 
Mrs. Blaine was led away to a carriage by her son. It was getting dark. 
The sun was hidden from view behind the hill, and the grave, with its 
burden of flowers, la}- in the shadows. Two or three policemen who had 
lingered about the gate cleared the cemetery of the children and of the few 
curious ones who remained. The iron gates were closed, and Blaine was left 
alone to begin his long rest beneath the sod." 





CHAPTER XI. 

SPEECHES AND ADDRESSES FIRST PERIOD. 

E are now to consider somewhat at length the pro- 
duct of James G. Blaine as a public speaker. In 
this respect he was copious to abundance. From 
his boyhood he had a passion for public speech, 
and rarely lost occasion to appear on the platform. 
We have already remarked upon the fact that his 
style of address was determined largely by his 
editorial experience aud discipline. As a result, 
his oratory was the oratory of reason and argu- 
mentation rather than of high flight and pyro- 
technic display. 
In the following chapters it is our purpose to trace 
the evolution of Blaine's powers with actual citations from 
his speeches. In this chapter we shall limit our excerpts 
to such addresses as he delivered before his appearance in 
Congress. As we have said, he began early. When he 
was twenty-six years of age, returning from the convention which had nominated 
Fremont for the presidency, he delivered a speech at Litchfield, Me., on 
the subject of the nomination of the Pathfinder and of the political questions 
which had sprung to the fore in that year. The address was worthy of a great 
occasion, but was marked with a measure of caution as to the extreme views 
which had combined with more moderate opinion in the new Republican 
platform. 

Blaine, on this occasion, reviewed briefly the history of recent American 
politics ; dwelt upon the dissolution of the Whig party ; pointed out the fact 
that the Democratic party was also on the eve of disintegration, and indicated 
the necessity of a new political organization as the vehicle of the best and most 
progressive sentiment of the American people. " The Republican party," said he, 
" will march forward in the line of duty and will try to engraft its principles 
upon the government of the country. They have no purpose to interfere with 
slavery in the States ; they have no purpose to interfere with slavery anywhere, 
except to the extent that Thomas Jefferson and the Fathers of the Republic 
interfered with it when they excluded it from free territory. If, indirectly, that 
policy interferes with slavery in the States, we are not responsible. Certainly 

(234) 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 235 

the great evil of slavery, wherever it exists, is not to be countenanced and 
upheld by subjecting other coniniuuities and other territory to a like curse. 
I have no doubt that the great majority of the Republican party would 
interfere with slavery in the States, if they considered that they had the 
constitutional right to do so ; but they will not violate their oaths to observe 
the Constitution, and they will not strain their consciences to make that 
seem right which the plain letter of the law forbids. But they believe 
that their right to exclude slavery from the free Territories is just as 
clear as their inability to interfere with it in the States ; and on that 
single point, great and far-reaching in its effects, we challenge the Democratic 
party of the South and of the North to a contest for the government of the 
country." 

The speaker then went on to review the proceedings of the first National 
Republican Convention, and to deduce therefrom the omens of success. He 
referred to the fact that he himself had been a Whig, descended from Whigs, 
that he had preferred Judge McLean for the nomination, but that the popularity 
of Fremont had carried him away with the rest of the delegation. He declared 
the existence of three parties in the field, and affirmed the probability that the 
new Republican organization would become the party of the future. He then 
turned upon Buchanan, candidate of the Democracy, and reviewed his record 
with a raciness and force which foretokened his powers of attack and criticism. 
He also gave his attention to the American party, and accused Fillmore of 
having virtually gone over to the principles and cause of the South. Fremont 
was eulogized. He was declared to be the herald of a new political era in the 
nation. " Without realizing it himself," said the speaker, " he has become the 
embodiment of the Republican policy which declares that the national territory 
shall be kept free from the curse of slavery. The battle between free institu- 
tions and slave institutions is now in actual progress in the Territory of Kansas 
and will be fought there to the bitter end. Mr. Buchanan represents the 
pro-slavery side of that contest ; Colonel Fremont represents the anti-slavery 
side, while Mr. Fillmore, evading a declaration on the question, is, so far 
as he has political strength, decisively and most effectively 011 the side of the 
South." 

Blaine then addressed himself directly to the Republicans of his own State. 
He exhorted them to stand for moral as well as political reform. He attacked 
the Democrats for their attitude towards the prohibitory law of Maine. He 
urged his fellow Republicans to fill the forthcoming State convention and to make 
a charge for the conquest of the State. He urged the nomination of Hannibal 
Hamlin for Governor. He declared his desire that Hamlin, who was then in 
Congress, should be so nominated that he could not decline the call. " To this 
end," said the speaker, " let me urge that all the towns in Kennebec be repre- 
sented at Portland with full delegations, on the eighth of next month. There 
is work to be done this year and the old Whig party of Kennebec must do her 



236 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



full share. Maine will not lag behind in this contest for free territory, and 
the first duty at hand is to destroy the present Democratic supremacy in the 
State." 

In these remarks of the young orator we are able to discover his prudence 
and his prescience. Not only this ; we note with admiration the beginning of his 
organizing power his directive influence. Hamlin must come home from Congress 
and help to rescue Maine from the Democracy. That done, he can be returned 
to the Senate. Herein is the clear vision of the political diplomatist seen already. 
Such a man as this will be long-headed by and by. He will be a manager of 
affairs, and show himself able to discern great things at a distance. He will 

acquire skill in the combination of 
political forces, and perhaps become a 
leader of his party ! 

Buchanan was elected to the presi- 
dency. This might well have been 
foreseen. Fremont, however, had a 
respectable vote, and it was evident tbat 
the young Republican party had come 
to stay. Blaine was profoundly inter- 
ested in the evolutions of the time. 
He watched with intense interest the 
progress of affairs in the Government 
and in the malcontent States of the 
South. "When near the close of 
py Buchanan's administration the ques- 
: tions of the day began to take form 
Blaine was read}'. At a Republican 
mass meeting held in Farmington, Me., 
on the fourth of July, i860, with Israel 
! / Washburn presiding, Blaine delivered 



one of his first formal political ad-f 
dresses on 

THE NATIONAL ISSUES OF i860. 

" I sincerely thank 3'ou, Mr. Chairman and Republicans of Franklin County," I 
said the orator, " for the honor j-ou have conferred upon me by your invitation} 
to join our distinguished candidate for Governor in formally opening the State 1 
and presidential campaigns in Maine. We have had the pleasure of hearing Mr. 
Washburn, and I am sure we all feel that in his eloquent and exhaustive 
speech on the leading national issue, he has left little for other speakers to say. 
If his speech made one impression upon my mind stronger than any other, it 
was that we do a wrong to our State and to the nation to withdraw him fror 
Congress to make him Governor of the State when his services in the House 
of Representatives had so fully ripened him for the closing battle of that conflict foi 




MILLARD FILLMORE. 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 237 

free territory, in which for the past ten years he has borne so conspicuous and hon- 
orable a part. But it is now too late to change, and we must content ourselves with 
the belief that if we lose a brilliant Representative in Congress we shall secure 
an equally brilliant Governor, and that Mr. Rice, who is nominated as his 
successor in the national field, will faithfully uphold the principles which Mr. 
Washburn's long career has so fitly illustrated. 

It is interesting and important for us at the initial point of the national 
campaign to see how the events of four years have deepened and broadened the 
issue upon which the Republican party was organized, and how that party, 
growing and strengthening in all the States of the North, has enlarged the 
creed of principles which first constituted its political field. The vote for Fremont 
in 1S56, though the party had been hastily summoned and was imperfectly 
organized, was yet so large as to give a wholesome fright to the pro-slavery 
leaders of the South. Mr. Buchanan carried his own State by only two thousand 
votes in the October election, and if the majority had been two thousand the 
other way the coalition ticket of Fremont and Fillmore electors would probably 
have been chosen. In that event the election would have been thrown into 
the House of Representatives, and either Mr. Buchanan or Mr. Fillmore would 
have been chosen President through the same process that gave John Quincy 
Adams the executive chair in 1825. Though it might not have deprived the 
Democracy of the chief magistracy, it would have been more than equivalent 
to an ordinary defeat between parties. Even as it resulted, the gathered hosts 
of the free North so alarmed the leaders of Southern opinion that something 
was imperatively demanded to strengthen their position. 

The nation did not wait long to learn the policy and purpose of the pro- 
slavery leaders. The Republicans had already once gained control of the popular 
branch of Congress, and the Democracy were afraid that the same result might 
be repeated. That implied the possibility of defeat at the polls in a presidential 
election ; and with the executive and legislative departments of the Government 
against them, they feared for the fate of slavery. In this dilemma they had 
recourse to the national judiciary to strengthen them in their position. So 
assured were they that a decision of great value to the pro-slavery interest was 
impending, that Mr. Buchanan ventured to refer to it in his inaugural address 
as " soon to be announced." People did not realize at the time the gross impro- 
priety of this reference. But its full measure was seen when, not long after, the 
Dred Scott decision was pronounced by the Supreme Court. This decision, which 
primarily related to the freedom of a single man (whose name the case bears), was 
so broadened by the court, in its obiter dictum, as to take in all existing political 
disputes on the slavery question. The Missouri Compromise of 1S20 was 
declared to have been unconstitutional, and its flagitious repeal in 1854 was thus 
upheld as a patriotic duty on the part of Congress. As far as a judicial edict 
could do it, slavery was strengthened everywhere by that decision, the whole 
national domain was opened to its ingress, and no power was left, either among 



238 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



the settlers in the Territories or in the Congress of the United States, to exclude 
it. The belief with many who are entitled to know is that the " opinions " of 
the court which take in matter beyond the record of the case would never have 
been delivered had not the supposed political necessities of the South demanded 
this judicial declaration of the extreme doctrine of Mr. Calhoun. 

The Southern men have found, however, that they reckoned witkoiit their 

host when they supposed 
that the people of the 
United States, on polit- 
ical questions of this 
character, would give up 
a contest that involves 
freedom for a continent, 
on the mere sideway 
opinions of five pro-sla- 
very judges. The contest 
goes on ; and it has been 
deepened by the atrocious 
efforts to compel Kansas 
to enter the Union under 
the fraudulent constitu- 
tion made at Lecompton, 
against the will and the 
wish of her people. 
Neither the abuse of 
power by the President 
nor the perversion of 
justice by the Supreme 
Court can call a halt in 
this battle for free terri- 
tory. It is destined to 
go forward, and the ele- 
ments which the pro- 
slavery leaders have 
james buchanan. relied upon as settling 

it are but acting as incentives to greater energy and more determined purpose 
on the part of the freemen of the Northern States. The cry of " sectionalism," 
which is part of the campaign thunder of the Democratic party, has lost its 
force ; for the people measure its meaning and are ready, in their own phrase, 
to unite in defence of freedom when Southern men combine in defence of 
slavery. 

In the election of 1856 the opponents of the Democratic party were divided. 
I do not say that, even had they been united, they could have triumphed at 







LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 239 

that time. But this year, in the good Providence of God, the division comes in 
the Democratic party itself; and we can felicitate ourselves that the strife 
between Mr. Douglas and Mr. Breckinridge will in all probability give the elec- 
tion to the Republicans of the United States, and that iVbraham Lincoln, if he 
lives, will be the next President. I do not in this contest reckon Mr. Bell, of 
Tennessee (who, with Mr. Edward Everett for Vice-President, is running as the 
representative of the old Whig remnant), as of any special force. We have no 
occasion to discuss him or his platform, and we can safely endure the little 
diversion which, through old Whig influences, he may make from the Repub- 
lican standard in the North, in consideration of the additional confusion he will 
bring to the Democratic party in the South. It is in fact probable that upon 
the whole the Republicans will gain by the candidacy of Bell and Everett, 
because the majority of their Northern supporters, if the ticket were withdrawn, 
would cast their votes directly for Mr. Douglas. 

Nor should we listen for a single moment to those Democrats who for the 
first time in their lives find themselves in a quarrel with the pro-slavery chief- 
tains, and are asking popular support for Douglas as the leader of the real 
revolt against the dangerous element of the South. If there were no other argu- 
ment against that course, its utter impracticability would be conclusive. If the 
Douglas men are in earnest and wish to smite the dangerous and aggressive 
element which is massing itself under the lead of Breckinridge for pro-slavery 
victory, or for disunion in the event of failure, they should unite in support of 
Mr. Lincoln. Either Mr. Lincoln will be chosen, or the election will be thrown 
into the House of Representatives ; and no man who measures the working of 
political forces to-day can view that result with any feeling other than one of 
dread. Certainly no Northern man ought to cast his vote in a way that admits 
of the possibility of such a raffle for the presidency as woiild sacrifice all prin- 
ciple and involve the danger that may be connected with a contest of that 
character. 

If the Republicans of Maine need any further stimulus to rally for Lincoln 
with even more enthusiasm than they rallied for Fremont four years ago, it will 
be fcmnd in the fact that our own distinguished fellow-citizen, Hannibal Hamlin, 
is the candidate for Vice-President. In these great national uprisings for free- 
dom, it seems to be Mr. Hamlin's fortune to hold prominent place and wield 
prominent influence. It was his great victory as candidate for Governor four 
years ago that gave impulse to the popular wave for Fremont, and it is his 
presence and his influence to-day which, with that of our distinguished candi- 
date for Governor, will give increased volume and increased force to the voice 
of Maine in September. 

There is another great step forward which the Republican party has taken 
in its national platform of this year, reaffirmed with special emphasis in the 
State platform of Maine. In 1856 the issue was entirely confined to resistance 
to the aggressions of slavery, but since that date the financial revulsions which 



240 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



have led to such distress in the country have turned men's minds to the fallacy 
and the failure of the free-trade policy which for the last fourteen years has been 
adopted and enforced by the Democratic party. The prosperity which was said 
to have been caused by the tariff of 1S46 has received a rude shock, and three 
years ago a disastrous panic swept over the country, leaving all business embar- 
rassed, if not prostrate. For several years prior to that date every man who 
believed in the policy of protection had been ridiculed and taunted and pointed 
to the indisputable proof of the advantage of free trade to be found in the gener- 
ally prosperous condition of the country. The cry in favor of the tariff of 1846 
was so boisterous that no opponent of it could even have a hearing. Those who 
still held firmly to the policy of protection aud in the belief that the repeal of 

the tariff of 1S42 was a great 
national blunder were silenced, 
if not scorned, in the arena of 
popular discussion. 

It was in vain that Pro- 
tectionists attempted to prove 
that the period of prosperity 
under that tariff (from 1S46 
to 1S56) was due to a series 
of what might be termed 
fortuitous circumstances all 
involving good fortune to the 
United States and ill fortune 
to other nations. 

First. At the very mo- 
ment of the enactment of 
the tariff of 1846, the war with 
Mexico broke out. The result 
was that more than one hun- 
dred thousand men were called 
from the pursuits of industry 
and enlisted in the ranks of our army, while other thousands, leaving their 
usual callings, were set to work on the production of war material. The first 
result was a deficiency in the supply of laborers and a large advance in wages. | 
In the course of two years the Government paid out on account of the war,: 
nearly one hundred and fifty millions of dollars, thus stimulating trade in 
almost every department. 

Second. Midway in the Mexican war (in 1S47) a distressing famine occurred 
in Ireland, which, with short crops in other parts of Europe, created an unpre- 
cedented demand for American breadstuff's. This, of course, raised the price of 
grain to high figures, aud carried large profit and ready money to the door of 
every farmer in the land. 




HANNIBAL HAMLIN. 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 241 

Third. The Mexican war had scarcely closed, the Irish famine had only 
been partially relieved, when (in 1848-49) tumults and revolutions occurred 
in nearly every European kingdom. The direct result was the disorganization 
of industry and the depression of trade all over the continent. Demand for 
our breadstuff's continued, and competition of European fabrics was so reduced 
that every form of industry in the United States was stimulated to fill the 
demands of the home market. 

Fourth. The convulsions of Europe were still in progress when another 
stimulus was added to our prosperity. Vast deposits of gold were found in Cali- 
fornia, and from 1S49 onward, for several years, the trade of the country in all 
departments was quickened to a degree never before known. The demand for 
shipping to carry passengers to the land of gold, and supplies to sustain them, 
gave new life to our navigation interests and filled the ocean with clipper ships 
that had no rivals for speed or beauty. The rapid additions to our gold currency, 
immediately followed by an expansion of our paper currency, gave such an 
abundance of money as had never before been dreamed of. The inevitable result 
was a rapid rise of prices for labor and for all commodities, and speculation and 
money-making were the order of the day. Importations from Europe were enor- 
mously large, and in settling the balances we followed the theory of the free- 
trade school, in regarding our gold as simply a comrnodity, to be shipped out 
of the country as freely as iron or lead or wheat or corn. 

Fifth. In 1854, before the craze of speculation had time to cool, another 
great event came to pass which still further increased our prosperity. It really 
seemed as if the whole world had conspired to have every accident and every 
calamity happen for our benefit. When our prosperity was already great and 
growing, the three leading nations of Europe as nations were then ranked 
Great Britain, Russia and France rushed into a tremendous war which lasted 
until 1S56. In its progress the Crimean struggle absorbed the energies of the 
nations engaged, removed to a large extent the mercantile marine of England 
and France from peaceful pursuits, and gave still greater expansion to our own 
navigation ; stopped the flow of grain from Russia, and gave every opportunity 
for trade and commerce and great profit to the citizens of the United States. 

But this singular combination of good fortune to us and ill fortune to others 
could not contimie indefinitely. Prosperity built xipon the calamities of other 
nations has a most insecure and undesirable foundation. The three great Euro- 
pean Powers made peace ; the Baltic and the Black Sea were thrown open for 
the exportation of Russian bread stuffs ; English and French ships that had been 
engaged in war service were at once and everywhere competing at low prices 
for the freight of the world ; shipments of gold from California began to decrease. 
The wheel of fortune had turned, and the consequence was that the portentous 
superstructure of credit, of speculation, which had been based upon what the 
gamblers would have termed our extraordinary run of luck, suddenly came to 

an end when the luck ceased. The panic of 1S57 was the closing chapter in 
16 



242 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

that extraordinary ten years in which the political economists of the Democratic 
party were constantly mistaking effect for cause, were constantly blinded to the 
actual condition of trade and to the real sources of our prosperity, were con- 
stantly teaching to the people of the United States spurious theories, were 
constantly deceiving themselves by fallacies, and were constantly drawing con- 
clusions from false premises. 

Notwithstanding all the gold received from California, it was found that we 
had not enough in the hour of panic to keep the banks, even of the National 
Metropolis, from immediate suspension. Enterprises all over the country were 
checked ; labor was thrown into confusion and distress, and for the last three 
years men have been working for less remuneration than has been paid to 
honest toil at any period within the preceding quarter of a century. The policy 
of free trade, as embodied in the tariff of 1846, had, in ten years, caused such 
a large importation of foreign goods that, besides all our shipments of produce 
and all the earnings of our commercial marine, it drained us of four hundred 
millions of gold to make good the balance of trade against us. I mean four 
hundred millions of gold, net, over and- above the amount which in the currents 
of trade was occasionally shipped to us from Europe. The bankers of New 
York, the great majority of whom had sustained the free-trade policy, were 
among the first to ask extension on their obligations. They could pay in their 
own bills, but the specie which should have been in their vaults had been sold 
by them for shipment abroad, to make good the balance which their favorite 
tariff of 1846 had constantly accumulated against us in Europe. 

These lessons, fellow-citizens, are serious, and the Republican National 
Convention has appreciated their meaning. That convention recalls us, in its 
platform, to the policy of adjusting our revenues so as to protect labor, encour- 
age home manufactures, create a balance of trade in our favor, and keep our 
gold at home. While fighting against the admission of servile toil of the black 
man in the new Territories of the continent, Republicans will fight also for 
liberal wages to the toiling white men of the old States of the Union. This 
position is the logical sequence, the logical necessity of the Republican party. 
An anti-slavery part}' is by the irresistible force of its principles a protection party, 
for it is based upon the rights of labor for the white man and the black man alike. 

I do not doubt, Mr. Chairman, that I dwell on this new plank in our 
Republican platform at greater length and with keener personal interest than 
woiild any of the gentlemen who are to follow me. I was a college-bo}' in my 
native State when the tariff of 1846 was enacted, and I can remember how 
profound and how angry was the agitation throughout Pennsylvania while thej 
bill was pending, how bitter and intense was the popular indignation when it was 
finally passed. I say popular indignation, because the two parties were not 
divided on the question of protection. The supporters of Mr. Polk in that State 
in the contest of 1844 cried as loudly for the tariff of '42 as did the supporters 
of Mr. Clay. 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE.- 



243 



The peculiar bitterness in Pennsylvania, the acrimony, the sense of betrayal 
which they felt, came from the fact that the tariff of '46 was passed through 
the Senate by the casting vote of the Vice-President, George M. Dallas, a dis- 
tinguished Pennsylvanian, who had been associated with Mr. Polk on the 
Democratic ticket for the purpose of rallying the State against the overwhelming 
prestige of Mr. Clay as a Protectionist. 

In the hour of trial Mr. Dallas failed his friends. Nor was Mr. Dallas the 
only man of Pennsylvania blood and birth who disappointed the expectation of 
his State. Mr. Buchanan was Secretary of State in Mr. Polk's Cabinet at the 
time, and though he had shown his belief in Protection by voting for the tariff 
of 1S42, he exerted no influence from his high place to stay its repeal, but rather 
co-operated with the Secretary of the 
Treasury, Robert ' J. Walker, another 
Pennsylvania^ by birth, in his zealous 
work for the tariff of 1S46. Three Penn- 
sylvania Democrats, therefore, stand in 
different degrees responsible for the tariff 
of 1846, and that fact will prove of 
immense value to the Republicans in 
their pending struggle for political power 
in that State. 

When Mr. Buchanan ran for President 
four years ago, the bubble of fancied 
prosperity from free trade had not burst, 
and he was enabled, though, as I have 
already said, by the closest of votes, to 
hold his State. But there has been a 
revulsion possibly it may be a revolu- 
tion of public sentiment on this question 
in Pennsylvania. A distinguished citizen 
of that State, whom I met at the Repub- 
lican National Convention in May, told 
I think he said two-thirds of all the iron establishments had gone through 
some form of insolvency or assignment under the tariff of 1846, especially within 
the last three years, when the Free Traders went one step farther in the amend- 
ment to the tariff in 1857, just preceding the panic. 

Let us then do our full duty in Maine on both questions that are included 
in the national platform. The larger, grander issue of freedom for the Territories, 
which concerns " the rights of human nature," is in perfect harmony with the 
industrial issue upon which I have dwelt. Both can stand together, and if they 
do not, both will fall together." 

ThESE trial efforts of the young statesman of Maine destined as he was 
to become so striking a figure in the Congressional and diplomatical history 




proportion 



244 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



of a quarter of a century possess a peculiar interest. They show the trial 
flights. We note with pleasure the vigor of wing on which the thought of 
the orator sweeps around. The speeches are strong and comprehensive. They 
are essentially political, but, nevertheless, have in them the premonitions of 
statesmanship. True, the occasion favored development on the special lines of 
policy and action which Blaine successfull} 7 pursued. The last years of the 
sixth and first of his seventh decade were rife with such questions as do not 
rise every day to the surface of affairs. They were critical. They broke in 
commotion on the wide seas of public thought. The spirit of voung men 
must needs be agitated by the turmoil around them. It was a great da}'. 
Blaine, with many others, caught the sense and spirit of it and became, even 
in this first period of his public activity, an expositor of situations, an inter- 
preter of principles to the understandings of his fellow-men. ' 





CHAPTER XII. 



SPEECHES AND ADDRESSES CONGRESSIONAL. 



a speaker, the second epoch of Mr. Blaine's career 
opened in the House of Representatives. To that 
body he was elected, as we have seen, from the Ken- 
nebec district, in the fall of 1S62. With the begin- 
ning of the new Congress in the next year he took 
his seat, and it was not long until he began to 
show his powers in the discussion of the great 
questions of the hour. Already before leaving 
the legislature of his adopted State, namely, 
on the seventh of February, 1862, he had made 
a long and thoughtful speech on "The Con- 
fiscation of Rebel Property." In the course of 
the address he discussed the war power of 
Congress, cited precedents of the exercise of such power 
in the Mexican war, adduced the authority of Webster 
and Kent, debated the question as to whether the seceded 
States were in the Union or out of the Union, declared 
the magnanimity of the Republican policy, and predicted 
victory for the Union cause. In conclusion he said: 

" This mighty struggle, sir, will close with victory 
for the Union and for constitutional liberty. The triumphs 
at Mill Spring, at Roanoke, at Henry, and at Donelson, 
f are but the earnest of the unbroken success which, under 

the vigorous counsels now controlling the army, are to 
attend the Union cause. It is not to be as it has been. In the past autumn 
and early winter our prospects seemed dark and dreary. We close the year 
with those terrible disasters at Big Bethel, at Bull Run, at Ball's Bluff unre- 
deemed ; and our national energies seemed paralyzed with inaction and with 
treason. The war was being conducted in a manner that never did and never 
will and never can achieve anything but misfortune and disgrace. It was a war 
of half measures, painfully parallel in policy with that which in England, 
under the temporizing expedients urged by such leaders as Essex and Manchester 
and Northumberland, had well-nigh sacrificed the popular cause in the contest 
with the first Charles a policy which is thus decribed and denounced by that 
memorable historian and statesman of England, whose untimely death, two years 
ago, was so deeply deplored on both sides of the Atlantic: 

('45) 



246 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



That the failure of General 
will cost this nation three 



'"If there be any truth established by the universal experience of nations, 
it is this : that to carry the spirit of peace into war, is a weak and cruel policy. 
The time of negotiation is the time for deliberation and delay. But when an 
extreme case calls for that remedy, which is in its own nature most violent, and 
which, in such cases, is a remedy only because it is violent, it is idle to 
think of mitigating and diluting. Languid war can do nothing which negotia- 
tion or submission will not do better : and to act on any other principle, is not 
to save blood and money, but to squander them.' 

"As an apposite illustration of the pregnant truth thus enunciated by Lord 
Macaulay, I close by quoting the well-known declaration of Edwin M. Stanton, 

McClellan to attack Manassas in December last 
hundred millions of dollars and thirty thousand 
precious lives.' " 

The reader will readily observe in this brief 
extract the range which the mind of Blaine was 
taking even before his accession to Congress. 
The same quality is observed in his next im- 
portant address, which was delivered four days 
afterwards, on the occasion of his nomination for 
a seat in the House of Representatives. It was 
clear already that while the speaker was prudently 
concerned with such local questions as belonged 
to the politics of his own State, those questions 
and the discussion of them could by no means 
satisfy his aspirations. Once in the House of 
Representatives he gave free rein to his thought. 
Mark well a single paragraph from his speech 
of April 21, 1S64. In discussing the question 
whether the country could stand the financial strain of the war and not go 
bankrupt, he says : 

" Our facilities for commerce and exchange, both domestic and foreign 
who shall measure them ? Our ocean, our vast inland sea, our marvelous flow 
of navigable streams, our canals, our network of railroads more than thirty 
thousand miles in extent these give us avenues of trade and channels of com- 
munication, both natural and artificial, such as no other nation has ever enjoyed, 
and which tends to the production of wealth with a rapidity not to be measured 
by any standard of the past. The enormous field for manufacturing industry 
in all its complex and endless variety with our raw material, our wonderful 
motive power, both of water and steam, our healthful climate, our chief carriage, 
our home consumption, our foreign demands foreshadows a traffic whose mag- 
nitude and whose profit cannot now be estimated. Our mines of gold and silver 
and iron and copper, and lead and coal, with their untold and unimaginable 
wealth, spread over millions of acres of territory in the valley, on the mountain- 




GEORGH B. M'CMXLAN. 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



247 



side, along rivers, yielding already a rich harvest, are destined yet to increase 
a thousand-fold until their every-day treasures, 

' familiar grown, 
Shall realize Orient's fabled wealth.' ' 

It is easy to perceive in this brief extract the first flight of a spirit which 
might well come to consider in mature years such questions as inter-continental 
railways, Isthmian canals, and the whole vast question of international trade. 

In this chapter, it is our purpose to quote freely from Blaine's congressional 
speeches. On the seventh of December, 1864, he spoke as follows on the 

FUTILITY OF ATTEMPTING TO EQUALIZE GOLD, SILVER AND PAPER MONEY 

BY LEGISLATION. 

Mr. Speaker I move to reconsider the vote whereby the House yesterday 
referred to the Committee of Ways and Means a bill introduced by the gentleman 

from Pennsylvania [Mr. Thaddeus Stevens], 
" to prevent gold and silver coin and bullion 
from being paid or exchanged for a greater 
value than their real current value, and for 
preventing any note or bill issued by the 
United States, and made lawful money and 
a legal tender, from being received for a 
smaller sum than is therein specified." I 
believe, Mr. Speaker, that this bill has been 
productive of great mischief in the brief 
twenty-four hours that it has been allowed 
to float before the public mind as a measure 
seriously entertained by this House. I believe 
that still more mischief will ensue every day 
and every hour the House stands committed 
to such legislation, even by the motion of 
courtesy which refers the bill to a committee. 
The provisions of the bill are very extraordinary, and but for the respect I feel 
for the distinguished gentleman who introduced it, I should say they were absurd 
and monstrous. Let me read two or three of these provisions : 

" 2. That a dollar note issued by the Government, declared lawful money 
and legal tender, is declared of equal value for all purposes as gold and silver 
coin of like denomination. 

" 3. That a contract made payable in coin may be payable in legal-tender 
United States notes, and that no difference in sale or value shall be allowed 
between them. 

" 5. That no person shall by any device, shift or contrivance receive or 
pay, or contract to receive or pay, any Treasury or other note issued by the 
United States for circulation as money, and declared legal tender, for less than 




THADDET'S STEVENS. 



24S 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE 



their lawfully expressed value; aud any offender, upon conviction, shall suffer 
imprisonment not exceeding six months, and a fine equal to the full amount 

of the sum speci- 
fied in said note. 

"6. That if any 
person shall, in the 
purchase or sale of 
gold or silver coin 
or bullion, agree to 
receive in payment 
notes of corpora- 
tions or individuals 
at less than par 
value, he shall be 
deemed to have of- 
fended against the 
provisions of this 
act, and shall be 
punished accord- 
ingly." 

I forbear to re- 
cite the remainder 
of the bill. I have 
read enough to 
show, that if it 
should become a 
law, the entire pop- 
ulation on the Paci- 
fic coast would be 
liable to indictment 
and conviction for a 
criminal offence 
simply because they 
will persist in be- 
lieving that in the 
present condition 
of our currency a 
gold dollar is worth 
more than a paper 
dollar. Not limit- 
ing the scope of the 

bill to the protection of Government currency, the gentleman from Pennsyl- 
vania still further proposes to punish, as for a misdemeanor, any one who shall 




U'AI.I, STREET, NEW YORK. 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 249 

agree to sell gold and receive in payment " notes of corporations or individuals 
at less than par value." 

The whole bill, sir, aims at what is simply impossible. You cannot by a 
congressional enactment make a coin dollar worth less than it is, or a paper 
dollar worth more than it is. I think we had experience enough in that direc- 
tion with the famous gold bill at the last session. We passed that measure 
after a very severe pressure, and with great promises as to the wonders it would 
work in Wall street. It continued on the statute-book for some twelve days 
gold advancing at a rapid rate every day until its repeal was effected. The bill 
now under consideration has already had a most pernicious effect ; and should 
it become a law, no man can measure the degree of its hurtful influence. It is 
for these reasons that I ^desire to have its reference reconsidered. 

In regard to the specific line of argument used by the chairman of Ways 
and Means to justify this extraordinary measure, let me say, Mr. Speaker, that 
I have read English history on this subject with different conclusions from those 
so confidently expressed by him. My impression is that the well-weighed judg- 
ment, the deliberate conclusion of the British people was and is that such 
prohibitory statutes as the gentleman has cited have no favorable effect upon the 
price of gold. That the)- did not have a prejudicial and disastrous effect in 
England is due to the existence of other powerful causes, whose operation and 
effect were most beneficent. Those causes for the decline and continued low 
price of gold are found, sir, in the fact that the British Parliament raised by 
taxation half, and sometimes more than half, of the total amount annually 
expended in her fierce struggle with Napoleon, and British arms were at the 
same time crowned with a series of brilliant and decisive victories. Indeed, the 
gentleman from Pennsylvania himself, somewhat unconsciously perhaps, admits 
the whole force of my position on this point ; for he states that eight years 
before the English people resumed specie payment (in 1S23) the premium 011 
gold had fallen to a mere nominal rate. I admit it, sir ; and I ask the honor- 
able gentleman, what brought it there ? Unconsciously, as I have said, the 
gentleman named the precise date of the battle of Waterloo, and the British 
victory on that memorable field was the cause of gold ruling low in London in 
181=;. By the battle of Waterloo England's supremacy was established ; she had 
broken and beaten all coalitions against her, and was confessedly mistress on 
land and sea. It was her strong military and naval position and her resolute 
system of finance that raised the value of her bonds and brought down the price 
of gold. It was not her prohibitory legislation at all ; no intelligent minister 
of finance, no English historian worthy of credit, has ever stated that it was. 

Let us, sir, imitate England in raising our credit by wise legislation here, 
and by continued victories in the field. If we could raise half of our expenses 
by taxation, and could add to our many triumphs on land and sea a Waterloo 
victory over the hosts of the rebellion, we should need no such legislation as 



250 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

the gentleman has proposed to keep down, the price of gold. When we reach 
that happy period of final triumph, the gentleman's bill, if enacted, might prove 
harmless ; but until then its manifest effect can only be injurious to the cause 
it seeks to serve." 

One of the questions which sprang into full view at the close of the war 
was the new basis of representation in Congress. The people came to see that 
the old basis had been unequal and unjust. This is said of the counting of 
the blacks as though they were human beings, or human beings in part, in the 
matter of fixing the ratio of representation in the Southern States. It was one 
of the compromises of the Constitution that where slavery existed in the Union, 
the slaves should be enumerated and three-fifths of the number be added to the 
white inhabitants in establishing the basis of representation. The other two- 
fifths of the negro population were to be goods, pure and simple ! This sort of 
unthinkable thing might suffice for the first half-century of the American 
Republic, but it could not survive through the second half. With the end of 
the war and the restoration of national authority, the whole question had to be 
reviewed on the ground of justice and right. On the eighth of January, iS66, 
Mr. Blaine addressed the House as follows : 

ON THE BASIS OF REPRESENTATION. 

Mr. Speaker Since the beginning of the present session we have had 
several propositions to amend the Federal Constitution with respect to the basis 
of representation in Congress. These propositions have differed somewhat in 
phrase, but they all embrace substantially the one idea of making suffrage, 
instead of population, the basis of apportioning representatives ; in other words, 
to give to the States in future a representation proportioned to their voters 
instead of their inhabitants. 

The effect contemplated and intended by this change is perfectly well 
understood, and on all hands frankly avowed. It is to deprive the lately rebel- 
lious States of the unfair advantage of a large representation in this House, 
based on their colored population, so long as that population shall be denied 
political rights by the legislation of those States. The proposed amendment 
would simply say to those States, that so long as they refused to enfranchise 
their black population they shall have no representation based on their numbers ; 
but admit them to political and civil rights, and they shall at once be counted 
to their advantage in the apportionment of representatives. 

The direct object thus aimed at, as it respects the rebellious States, has 
been so generally approved that little thought seems to have been given to the 
incidental evils which the proposed constitutional amendment would inflict on 
certain loyal States. As an abstract proposition no one will deny that popula- 
tion is the basis of representation ; for women and children and other non- 
voting classes may have as vital an interest in the legislation of the country 
as those who actually deposit the ballot. Indeed, the very amendment we are 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 251 

discussing implies that population is the true basis, inasmuch as the exclusion 
of the black people of the South from political rights has suggested this indi- 
rectly coercive mode of securing those rights to them. Were the negroes to 
be enfranchised throughout the South to-day, no one would insist on the adop- 
tion of this amendment ; and yet if the amendment shall be incorporated in 
the Federal Constitution, its incidental evils will abide in the loyal States 
long after the direct evil which it aims to cure may have been eradicated in the 
Southern States. 

If voters instead of population shall be made the basis of representation, 
certain results will follow, not fully appreciated perhaps by some who are 
now urgent for the change. I will confine my examination of these results to 
the free States. The ratio of voters to population varies widely in different 
sections, ranging from a minimum of nineteen per cent to a maximum of fifty- 
eight per cent ; and the changes which this fact would work in the relative 
representation of certain States would be monstrous. For example, California 
has a population of 358,110, and Vermont 314,369, and each has three repre- 
sentatives on this floor to-day ; but California cast 207,000 votes, in electing her 
three representatives, and Vermont cast 87,000. Assuming voters as the basis 
of apportionment, and allowing to Vermont three representatives, California 
would be entitled to eight. The great State of Ohio, with nearly seven times 
the population of California, would have but little more than two and a half 
times the number of representatives ; and New York, with quite eleven times 
the population of California, would have in the new style of apportionment 
less than five times as many members of this House. California, it mav be 
said, presents an extreme case, but no more so than will continually recur for 
the next century under the stimulus to the emigration of young voters from 
the older States to the inviting fields of the Mississippi Valley and the Pacific 
slope. .............. 

There is no need, Mr. Speaker, of precipitating this evil of inequality 
among States, in order to cure the evil complained of. The Constitution may 
be amended so as to prevent the one evil without involving others of greater 
magnitude, and I venture to express the belief that the proposition submitted 
by me this morning will, if adopted, secure the desired result. Let me briefly 
explain that proposition. 

The Constitution of the United States, Article I., Section 2, Clause 3, reads 
as follows to the first period : 

"Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several 
States which may be included within this Union according to their respective 
numbers, which shall be determined by [adding to the whole number of free 
persons, including those bound to service for a term of years, and excluding Indians 
not taxed, three-fifths of all other persons).' 1 '' 

The portion which I have included in parentheses has become meaningless 
and nugatory by the adoption of the constitutional amendment which abolishes 



252 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

the distinction between "free persons" and "all other persons," and being thus 
a dead letter might as well be formally struck out. In its stead I propose to 
insert the words following included in parentheses, so that the clause as amended 
would read thus : 

" Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several 
States, which may be included within this Union according to their respective 
numbers, which shall be determined by (taking the whole number of per- 
sons, except those to whom civil or political rights or privileges are denied 
or abridged by the Constitution or laws of any State on account of race or 



color). 



i) 



; 



This is a very simple and very direct way, it seems to me, of reaching 
the desired result without embarrassment to any other question or interest. It 
leaves population, as heretofore, the basis of representation, does not disturb in 
any manner the harmonious relations of the loyal States, and it conclusively 
deprives the Southern States of all representation in Congress on account of 
the colored population, so long as those States may choose to abridge or deny 
to that population the political rights and privileges accorded to others." 

The comprehensiveness of these remarks and their aptness on the sub 
ject of the basis of representation may be noted with admiration. It is worthy 
of record that the speech, brief as it is, was the first open declaration in that I 
Congress [the thirty-ninth] in favor of basing representation in that body, I 
not on the voting, but on the whole population. The same views were taken I 
up and expanded by Mr. Blaine at a mass meeting of the Republican party at I 
Skowhegan, in his own State, on the twenty-ninth of August, 1866. The speaker II 
became a champion of the new principle that the right of representation inheres I 
in all the people, and not in those only upon whom the suffrage had been I 
conferred by law. 

Now it was that the great question of the restoration of civil power in the | 
South was thrust upon the American people and their representatives. Whol 
should have that power ? Should it be those who had lately been in arms I 
against the Government? Should they who had recently embarked their whole I 
fortunes in the cause of disunion now return to exercise the powers of the veryl 
Government which they had so strenuously sought to destroy ? The Republi- ) 
can leaders of the day generally answered these questions in the negative. 
Blaine, himself, was strongly opposed to the free return of the insurgents to 
their places in the Government. The South had refused to accept reconstruction 
on the basis of the Fourteenth Amendment. What should be done about it ? 
On the tenth of December, 1866, Mr. Blaine delivered a speech in the House 
of Representatives on the question, 

SHALL THE LATE REBELS WIELD THE ENTIRE CIVIL POWER OF THE SOUTH? 

Mr. Chairman. The popular elections of 1866 have decided that the! 
lately rebellious States shall not be re-admitted to the privilege of representation 






LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 253 

in Congress on any less stringent condition than the adoption of the pending 
constitutional amendment. But those elections have not determined that the 
privilege of representation shall be given to those States as an immediate con- 
sequence of adopting the amendment. In that respect the decision of the loyal 
people has been rather negative than affirmative ; expressive of the least that 
would be accepted rather than indicative of the most that might be demanded. 
Had the Southern States, after the adjournment of Congress, accepted the 
amendment promptly and in good faith as a definitive basis of adjustment, the loyal 
States would have indorsed it as such, and the second session of the thirty-ninth 
Congress would have been largely engaged in perfecting the details for the full 
and complete representation of all the States on the new basis of apportionment. 

The Southern States, however, have not accepted the amendment as a basis 
of adjustment, but have on the other hand vehemently opposed it; every one 
of them that has thus far acted on the question, with the exception of Tennessee, 
having defiantly rejected it. This absolute and obdurate refusal on the part of 
those States to accept the amendment as the condition of their regaining the 
privilege of representation, certainly relieves Congress from whatever promise or 
obligation may have been originally implied in regard to admitting them to 
representation upon their adopting the amendment this promise, or implication, 
or whatever you choose to term it, being, by universal understanding, condi- 
tioned on the Southern States accepting the amendment in good faith, as was 
significantly illustrated in the case of Tennessee. 

But even if the constitutional amendment should be definitely accepted, 
South as well as North, as the condition on which the rebel States are to regain 
the privilege of congressional representation, the actual enjoyment of that privi- 
lege would of necessity be postponed until the terms of the amendment could 
be complied with, and that would involve a somewhat uncertain period of time. 
I take it for granted, as I did when I voted for the constitutional amendment, 
and as I presume every other gentleman on. this floor did, that we are not to 
be guilt}- of the supreme foil}' of declaring that the basis of representation is 
so unfair as to require correction by constitutional amendment, and then forth- 
with admit the Southern States to the House with their undue and inequitable 
share cf representatives. If the Southern States are to be deprived of their 
undue share of representatives, based on their non-voting population, the} 7 should 
be deprived of them at once, and not be admitted, even temporarily, with the 
old apportionment, by which they would continue to exercise in the House of 
Representatives and in the electoral college the same weight of influence 
enjoyed by them before the rebellion. 

The population of the States recently slave-holding was by the census of 
i860 only 12,240,000, of whom 8,039,000 were whites and 4,201,000 negroes. 
The population of the free States bv the same census was 19,201,546, of whom 
only 237,000 were negroes. It would hardly be maintained by any one that 
the States lately slave-holding, taken as a whole, have done anything more than 



254 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

hold good their population of i860, while in the free States, despite the losses of 
the war, the ratio of increase has never been more rapid than since that year. 
It is speaking with moderation to say that the population of the free States is; 
to-day 25,000,000. 

Supposing the constitutional amendment to be adopted, therefore, as the 
basis of re-admitting the Southern States to the privilege of representation, it 
would be a cruel mockery of the whole aim and intent of that amendment to 
usher those States upon this floor with the full number of representatives 
assigned them by the census of i860, when three-fifths of their slaves and all 
their disfranchised free people of color were allowed them in fixing the basis of 
apportionment. Were they so admitted to-day, the aggregate number of repre- 
sentatives from the late slave States would be eighty-five, and from the free States 
156, making a House of 241 in all. And yet if those 241 members were divided 
between the free and slave States on the basis of the representative population, 
as directed by the constitutional amendment, the slave States would have but 
fifty-eight members, while the free States would have 1S3. 

A corresponding change would be wrought in the electoral college. Were 
the Government to permit an election for president and vice-president in 1868 
on the basis assigned by the census of 1S60, the late slave States would have 
115 electoral votes, while the free States would have 198. But on the actual 
basis contemplated by the constitutional amendment the late slave States would 
have but eighty-eight, while the free States would have 225. On the old basis 
the free States would thus have a majority of eighty-three, while on a basis of 
the constitutional amendment they would have a majority of 127, a net differ- 
ence of forty-four electoral votes in favor of the free States. 

In view of these results, which are the plainest arithmetical deductions, it 
could not be expected that the free States, even if they were to adhere to the 
constitutional amendment as the ultimatum of adjustment, would consent to 
have the lately rebellious States admitted to representation here and to a parti- 
cipation in the electoral college until the relative and -proper strength of theli 
several States should be adjusted anew by a special census and by an appor- 
tionment made in pursuance thereof. It was in this belief and with these views | 
that at the last session of Congress I framed a bill providing for a special 
enumeration of the inhabitants of the United States, which bill was on my 
motion referred to the Reconstruction Committee, and has never been reported 
to the House by that committee either favorably or adversely. 

What then shall be done ? The people, so far as I represent them, have 
plainly spoken in the late elections, and the interpretation of their voice is not 
difficult. They have pronounced with unmistakable emphasis in favor of the 
constitutional amendment, with the superadded and indispensable prerequisite 
of manhood suffrage. The constitutional amendment, with its definition of 
American citizenship, with its guarantee of the national obligations, and with 
its prohibition of the assumption of the rebel debt, is an invaluable addition 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 255 

to our organic law. We cannot surrender its provisions, and the rebel States 
cannot by their utmost resistance defeat its ultimate adoption. It is too late to 
deny or even to argue the right or power of the Government to impose upon 
those States conditions precedent to their resumption of the privilege of 
representation. The president set the example by exacting three highly 
important concessions from those States as his basis of reconstruction. Congress 
followed by imposing four other conditions as its basis of reconstruction. Now 
the people have spoken, demanding one additional condition as their basis of 
reconstruction, and that condition is the absolute equality of American citizens 
in civil and political rights without regard to caste, color, or creed. 

The objection in the popular mind of the loyal States to the constitutional 
amendment as a basis of final adjustment is not directed to what that 
amendment will effect, but to what it will not effect. Among the objects of prime 
importance which it will not effect is the absolute protection of the two classes 
in the South to whom the Government owes a special debt the loyal white 
men and the loyal black men. The amendment, if made the basis of final 
adjustment without further condition, leaves the rebel element of the South in 
possession of the local governments, free to persecute the Union men of all 
complexions in numberless ways ; and to deprive them of all participation in 
civil affairs, provided they will submit to a curtailed representation in Con- 
gress as the penalty. The danger is that they would accept the infliction on 
themselves in order to secure the power of visiting the loyalists with a 
full measure of vengeance; just as certain religious denominations in Eng- 
land, at various times under the reign of the Stuarts, favored measures of 
proscription which bore with some hardship on themselves, because they were 
enabled therebv to punish some rival and hated sectaries with positive severity 
and cruelty. 

Among the most solemn duties of a sovereign government is the protection 
of those citizens who, under great temptations and amid great perils, maintain their 
faith and their loyalty* The obligation of the Federal Government to protect 
the loyalists of the South is supreme, and they must take all needful means to 
provide that protection. The most needful is the gift of free suffrage, and that 
must be guaranteed. There is no protection you can extend to a man so 
effective and conclusive as the power to protect himself. And in assuring 
protection to the loyal citizen you assure permanency to the Government. 
The bestowal of suffrage is therefore not merely the discharge of a personal 
obligation toward those who are enfranchised, but it is the most far-sighted 
provision against social disorder, the surest guarantee for peace, prosperity, and 
public justice." 

On t E of the most strenuous questions that arose in the wake of the war 
was the payment of the public debt. Many were the opinions and 'policies 
advanced to meet the great contingency. No wonder that the statesmen of the 
later sixties were perplexed and troiibled with this problem. A quarter of a 



256 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



century nas now passed since the issue of the payment or non-payment of the 
great debt was imminent. To the present hour, however, the issue has not been 
met with a final solution. The prodigious debt still rests upon the nation and 
sucks up annually a large fraction of the profits of the American people. It 
lies in the bottom of all our waters, like Hugo's monstrous cuttle-fish, danger- 
ous to all forms of life that come within reach of its tentacles. On the twenty- 
sixth of November, 1S67, Blaine addressed the House of Representatives on the 
subject of the 

NATIONAL HONOR IN THE PAYMENT OF THE NATIONAL DEBT. 

Mr. Chairman Within the past few months, some erroneous and mis- 
chievous views have been put forward in regard to the nature of the public 
obligation imposed by the debt of the United States. Without stopping to 

notice the lesser lights of the new doctrine, and not- 
caring to analyze the various form of repudiation 
suggested from irresponsible sources throughout the 
country, I propose to review, as briefly as may be, 
the position contemporaneously assumed by two able 
and distinguished gentlemen the one from the 
West, the other from the East the one the late 
candidate of the Democratic party for the vice- 
presidency (Mr. Pendleton, of Ohio) the other a 
prominent member of this House from one of the 
strongest Republican districts of the State of 
Massachusetts (General Butler). 

The position of these gentlemen I understand 
to be simply this : that the principal of the United 
States bonds, known as the five-twenties, may be 
fairly and legally paid in paper currency by the 
Government after the expiration of five years from the date of issue. 

A brief review of the origin of the five-twenty bonds will demonstrate, I 
think, that this position is in contravention of the honor and good faith of the 
National Government ; that it is hostile to the spirit and the letter of the law ; 
that it contemptuously ignores the common understanding between borrower and 
lender at the time the loan was negotiated ; and that finally, even if such mode 
of payment were honorable and practicable, it would prove disastrous to the 
financial interests of the Government and the general prosperit\- of the country. 
I crave the attention and the indulgence of the House while I recapitulate the 
essential facts in support of my assertion. 

The issue of the five-twenty bonds was originally authorized by the act of 
February 25, 1862, which provided for the large amount of $500,000,000. It is 
this series which was successfully disposed of by Jay Cooke & Co. in 1863, and 
of which a great portion was subsequently purchased by foreign capitalists. It 




BENJAMIN F. BUTLER. 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 257 

will be borne in mind that up to that time in all the loan bills passed by Congress 
not one word had ever been said in regard to coin payment either of bond or 
coupon ; and yet it will be equally borne in mind that coin payment, both of the 
principal and interest of the public debt, has been the invariable rule from the 
foundation of the Government. No instance to the contrary can be found in our 
history. In the pithy language of Nathaniel Macon, " Our Government was a 
hard-money Government, founded by hard-money men, and its debts were hard- 
money debts." 

It will be still further borne in mind that when the bill authorizing the 
original issue of five-twenties was under discussion in Congress no man of any 
party, either in the Senate or the House, ever intimated that those bonds were 
to be paid in anything else than gold or silver. The issixe of legal-tender 
notes of contemporaneous origin was regarded as a temporary expedient, forced 
upon us by the cruel necessities and demands of war, and it was universally 
conceded that the specie basis was to be resumed long before the bonds should 
mature for payment. And in order that the public creditor might have the 
amplest assurance of the payment of both principal and interest in coin, it was 
specially enacted that all duties on imports should be paid in coin, and the 
amount thus raised was distinctly pledged, not only to the payment of the 
interest in coin, but to the formation of a sinking fund for the ultimate redemp- 
tion of the principal in coin. This provision is so important that I quote it 
entire. After providing that the duties shall be paid in coin, the act devotes 
the amount so collected to the following specific purposes : 

" First To the payment in coin of the interest on the bonds of the 
United States. 

" Second To the purchase or payment of one per cent of the entire debt 

of the United States, to be made within each fiscal year after the first day of 

| July, 1862, which is to be set apart as a sinking fund, and the interest of 

which shall be in like manner applied to the purchase or payment of the public 

debt, as the Secretary of the Treasury shall from time to time direct." 

Much carping and criticism have been expended on the second clause of 
this provision, mainly by those who seem desirous of wresting and distorting 
its plain and obvious meaning. Brushing aside all fine-spun construction and 
cunning fallacy, it is manifest that the sinking fund herein authorized was 
primarily to be formed from coin, and that it was only to be invested and 
re-invested in securities whose interest was equally pledged in coin ; that this 
process was not to be confined to any specific number of years, but was limited 
only by the amount and the duration of the debt which was ultimately to be 
redeemed by the sinking fund thus constituted. The sinking fund was thus to 
receive an annual increment in coin amounting to the one-hundredth part of 
the entire debt of the Government; and this increment was to be invested onlv 
in securities which would yield coin interest for the further increment of the 
fund. It would be difficult to conceive how the language of an enactment 
17 



258 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

could more distinctly recognize and provide for the ultimate coin payment of 
the entire bonded debt of the nation. Instead of the Government having the 
right at this late day to change its coin obligation into one of paper, it seems 
to me that the public creditors could, with far more consistency, allege that the 
Government had not kept faith with them by failing to provide the sinking fund 
which was guaranteed at the outset as one of the special securities of 
the loan. 

But the argument does not rest merely on the after-construction of a statute 
to prove that the principal of the five-twenties is payable in coin. The decla- 
rations in Congress, when the measure was under consideration, were numerous 
and specific. Indeed, no other possible mode of payment was even hinted at, 
and Mr. Stevens, then chairman of the Ways and Means, was emphatic and 
repeated in his assertions that the bonds were redeemable in coin. He stated 
this fact no less than three times in his speech of February 6, 1862, giving it 
all the prominence and emphasis that iteration and reiteration could impart. 
He spoke of the redemption in gold in twenty years as one of the special 
inducements for capitalists to invest, and he gave, in every form of words, the 
sanction of his influential position and great name to the maintenance of the 
coin standard in the payment of the bonds. 

It may astonish even the gentleman from Pennsylvania himself to be 
reminded that within less than three years from the date of these declarations 
he asserted on this floor referring to the five-twenty bonds that " it is just 
as clear as any thing is clear that the interest is payable in gold, but the 
principal in lawful money." He made this startling statement in answer to a 
question addressed to him by my honorable friend from Ohio (Mr. Spalding), 
and the gentleman from Massachusetts has quoted it in his argument on this 
question as though it had been made when the five-twenty bill was originally 
introduced, and was to be taken as the authorized opinion of the Ways and 
Means Committee at that time. I have alread}' shown that the gentleman 
from Pennsylvania was a firm advocate of coin payment, and that a considerable 
period had elapsed before he experienced his marvelous change of opinion on 
this question. But it is due to the gentleman from Pennsylvania to say that, 
late as he was in this declaration, he was in advance of other gentlemen who 
have since figured prominently as advocates of the doctrine. Should this 
scheme of repudiation ever succeed, it is but just to give the gentleman from 
Pennsylvania the honor of first proposing it. He announced it on this floor 
while yet the gentleman from Massachusetts was doing honorable service on 
the tented field, and while Mr. Pendleton was still adhering to those hard- 
money theories of which he was a conspicuous defender during his service in 
this House. 

But I digress. I was stating that while the original five-twenty bill was 
pending the declaration that the bonds were redeemable in coin was constantly 
repeated. It was the ground assumed by every member of the Committee of 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



259 



"Ways and Means, so far as the record shows, and it was likewise the ground 
taken by the Finance Committee of the Senate, Mr. Fessenden and other 
members being on record in many ways to that effect. While so many gentle- 
men in both branches of Congress were repeating that these bonds were redeem- 
able in coin, it is a significant circumstance, as already intimated, that no one 
ventured the opposite opinion. The universality of the understanding at that 
time is that which renders a different construction now so reprehensible. Mr. 
Pendleton was present in his seat during the whole discussion of the measure, 
and he was an active and frequent participant therein. Then was his time to 
have enunciated his scheme of greenback payment if he ever intended it in 
good faith. As a gentleman of candor, 
however, I am sure he will confess that 
he never dreamed of such an idea till 
long after the bonds were purchased 
by the people, and possibly not until 
some prospect of party advantage lured 
him to the adoption of a theory which is 
equally at war with the letter of the 
law and with sound principles of finance. 
After the bill became a law, Mr. 
Chase, the Secretary of the Treasury, 
proceeded to place the loan formally on 

I the market, and following the uniform 

I previous practice of the Government, and 
especially adopting the language used Jp 
by Mr. Stevens and other gentlemen in 

' both branches of Congress, he officially 

1 proclaimed through the loan agents of 
the Government that the five-twenty 
bonds were " a six per cent loan, the 
interest and principal payable in coini' 1 
It was on this basis, with this under- 
standing, with this public proclamation, that the people were asked to subscribe 
to the loan. They had the assurance of an unbroken practice on the part 
of the Government, rendered still more significant by the provision for a sink- 
ing fund in coin ; they had the general assurance of both branches of Congress, 

: especially expressed through the appropriate channels of the chairman of Finance 
in the Senate and the chairman of Ways and Means in the House, and further 

; and finally enforced by a distinct declaration to that effect by the public adver- 

\ tisement proposing the loan to the people, issued by the authority of the Secre- 

! tary of the Treasury. If anything could constitute an honorable contract between 
borrower and lender between Government and people then was it a contract 
that the five-twenty bonds should be redeemed iu coin. 




SALMON P. CHASE. 



2UU LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

I have been thus minute, and possibly tedious, in regard to the tacts 
attending the issue of the first series of five-twenties, because, in effect, that 
established the rule for all subsequent issues. The principle laid down so 
clearly in the proposal for the first loan was steadily adhered to afterward. It 
is quite true that the chairman of Ways and Means [Mr. Stevens], as I have 
already said, changed his ground on the question, but he failed to influence 
Congress, notwithstanding his parade of terrible figures showing the utter 
impossibility of ever paying coin interest, to say nothing of coin principal. 
The gentleman can recall his statistics with amusement, if not with advantage, 
from that grave of unfulfilled prophecies to which he, in common with the rest 
of us, have sent many baseless predictions. 

The next loan bill passed by Congress was that of March 3, 1863, author- 
izing the borrowing of $900,00x3,000. This is commonly known as the ten-forty 
act, and it contains the special provision that both principal and interest shall 
be payable in coin. But this provision was never inserted by way of discrimi- 
nation agaiust the five-twenties, implying that the}' were to be paid in paper 
currency. Its origin palpably discredits any such inference. It was moved as 
an amendment by Mr. Thomas, of Massachusetts, and it was moved to meet and 
repel the first covert insinuation that any bond of the United States was redeem- 
able in anything else than coin. The chairman of Ways and Means, in apparent 
forgetfulness of his declaration the preceding year, had for the first time inti- 
mated that the principal of United States bonds was payable in paper money, 
and the amendment of Mr. Thomas, as the discussion reported in the Globe 
clearly discloses, was intended as a sharp protest against this heresy of the 
gentleman from Pennsylvania, and as such it was adopted by the House by a 
majority so overwhelming that its opponents did not call for a division. During 
the discussion, Mr. Horton, of Ohio, a distinguished member of the Ways and 
Means, and a gentleman of very high character in every respect, said : 

" I wish to state here that the Committee of Ways and Means, in framing 
this bill, never dreamed that these twenty-year bonds were to be payable in any] 
thing other than coin until the gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. Stevens] toldl 
it yesterday upon the floor of the House." 

In this connection I desire the special attention of the House to one fact 
of conclusive import, and it is this : at the time this ten-forty loan bill was 
passed, March 3, 1S63, only $25,000,000 of the five-twenty loan, authorized the 
year before, had been disposed of. It was in the succeeding summer and autumn 
of 1863, especially after the triumph of the Union arms at Vicksburg and Gettys-I 
burg, that those marvelous sales of $500,000,000 were effected through the 
Government agency of Jay Cooke & Co. And yet the gentleman from Massa- 
chusetts would have us believe that the people subscribed for a loan of 
$500,000,000 that was payable in five years in paper currency, when another 
loan, for a larger amount, to run forty years, expressly payable in coin, was 
already authorized and about to be put on the market. Such a conclusion 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 261 

cannot be reconciled even with the common sanity, to say nothing or the pro- 
verbial shrewdness, of those who invested their money in the five-twenty loan. 
Ever}' one can see, sir, that not one dollar of the five-twenty loan could have 
been disposed of on the understanding that the bonds were redeemable in 
currency, while another loan for a longer period, possibly at the same rate of 
interest, for the bill so allowed, and absolutely redeemable in coin, was already 
authorized, and immediately to be offered to the public. 

The next loan bill in the order of time was the act of March 3, 1864, 
which was merely supplementary to the ten-forty bill, whose history I have just 
reviewed. It covered the amount of $200,000,000, and, like the bill to which 
it formed a supplement, it provided for both interest and principal to be paid 
in coin. Under this bill more than $175,000,000 were negotiated, partly in ten- 
forties and partly in five-twenties ; by far the greater part in the former. But 
as some five-twenties were negotiated under it, the gentleman from Massachu- 
setts, even on the line of logic which he has sought to travel, will be com- 
pelled to acknowledge that they were payable in coin, and hence, according to 
his theory, some of the five-twenties are redeemable in coin and some in paper 
a distinction which has never yet been proclaimed, and the equity of which 
would hardly be apparent to the holders of the same description cf bonds 
identical in phrase, and differing only in the subordinate and immaterial cir- 
cumstance of date. 

The last loan bill to which I need specially refer is that of June 30, 1864, 

under the provisions of which the five-twenties bearing that date were issued. 

The seven-thirties, authorized by the same act, as well as by the subsequent 

acts of January 2S and March 3, 1S65, were convertible into five-twenties of 

the same tenor and description with those whose issue was directly authorized; 

so that in reviewing the history of the loan bill of June 30, 1864, I shall, in 

effect, close the narrative of congressional proceedings in regard to five-twenty 

bonds. The history of that bill shall be brief. It was discussed in its various 

provisions very elaborately in both branches of Congress. As reported from the 

' Ways and Means Committee it was worded like all previous bonds, promising 

; to pay so many dollars to the holder, without specifying that the}' were to be 

i anything else than coin dollars, in which United States bonds had always been 

paid. Toward the close of the discussion Mr. Brooks, of New York, then, as 

I now, a member of this House, moved to insert an amendment providing 

especially that the bonds should be " payable in coin." Mr. Brooks was 

answered by Mr. Hooper, of Massachusetts, on behalf of the Ways and Means 

Committee, as follows : 

"The bill of last year, the $900,000,000 bill, contained these words, but it 

: was not deemed necessary or considered expedient to insert them in this bill. 

I will send to the desk and ask to have read, as a part of my reply to the 

gentleman from New York, a letter from the Secretary of the Treasury giving 

his views upon this point." 



262 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

The clerk read as follows from Secretary Chase's letter dated May iS, 1S64: 

"It has been the constant usage of the Department to redeem all coupon 
and registered bonds, forming part of the funded or permanent debt of the 
United States, in coin, and this usage has not been deviated from during my 
administration of its affairs. 

"The five-twenty sixes, payable twenty years from date, though redeemable 
after five years, are considered as belonging to the funded or permanent debt, 
and so also are the twenty years sixes, into which the three years seven-thirty 
notes are convertible. These bonds, therefore, according to the usage of the 
Government, are payable in coin." 

Apparently satisfied with this statement, Mr. Brooks withdrew his amend- 
ment, regarding the point as conclusively settled, I suppose, not only by the 
uniform practice of the Government, but by the special declaration of the 
Secretary of the Treasury, who immediately afterward proceeded on the basis 
of that letter to put the bonds on the market. Mr. Hooper stated the case well 
when he said it was "not deemed necessary or considered expedient" to insert 
coin payment in this bill; "not necessary," for the practice of the Government, 
and the assurances of the Treasury Department in its advertisements in pro- 
posing for loans, conclusively settled the point ; and not " considered expedient," 
because to specially insert coin payment in all the loan bills except that of 
February 25, 1862, under which $500,000,00x3 of five-twenties had been sold, might, 
in the end, by the cxclusio unzus, give some shadow of ground for the mis- 
chievous and groundless inference which is now sought to be drawn. 

We thus find that the voice of Congress has been uniform and consistent 
in support of the principle of paying the bonded debt in coin. No vote in 
Congress, even implying the opposite theory, has ever been given ; even the 
weighty influence and conceded ability of the distinguished gentleman frornl 
Pennsylvania failing to carry with him any support whatever when he made his 
surprising and unprecedented change on this question. But the public creditors 
did not rely solely on the declarations of leading men in Congress in regard to 
coin payment, nor did they rest wholly on the past practice and the good faith 
of the Government. They had, in addition to both these strong grounds of 
confidence and assurance, the more direct and explicit guarantee of the Treasury 
Department, the authorized agent of the Government, speaking ex cathedra, with 
the knowledge and assent of Congress. 

I have already quoted Secretary Chase's significant declarations in his letters 
and his public proposals for loans, and I have now to quote one of his equally 
significant acts. At the close of 1862 the twenty year loan of 1842, amounting 
to nearly three million dollars, fell due. Nothing was said in that loan about 
coin payment, and thus a grand opportunity was afforded to test the theory of 
paper payment. Circumstances all conspired to favor such a policy if it could) 
be honorably adopted. Gold was at a high premium, and the Government was 
passing through the darkest and most doubtful hours of the whole struggle. 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



263 



Could there have been even a decent pretext to pay the debt in paper currency 
the temptation was surely great enough to resort to it, if not fully to justify it. 
But in the face of all the adverse circumstances ; with gold very high and daily 
rising; with expenses enormous and daily increasing; with resources already 
embarrassed and daily growing more so, and with a military situation rendered 
well-nigh desperate by months of almost unbroken disaster, Secretary Chase decided 
that the faith of the Government demanded that its funded debt, falling due no 

matter when and owned by no 
matter whom, must be paid in 
coin. And it was paid in coin ; 
and no voice but the voice of 
approval was raised in either 
branch of Congress. The course 
of Secretary Chase was not only 
honorable to himself and the 
country, but it was in the high- 
est degree wise merely from 
the standpoint of worldly wis- 
dom ; for it created so profound 
a confidence in the good faith 
of our Government that it aided 
us incalculably in the negotia- 
tion of all our great loans for 
the war. When the Govern- 
ment paid its debt to the utter- 
most farthing at such a time 
capitalists at once argued that 
there never could come a crisis 
when any evasion of public obli- 
gation would be resorted to. It 
has been reserved for the gen- 
tlemen from Massachusetts, and 
the gentleman from Ohio, and 
the gentleman from Pennsylva- 
nia, to propose that our Gov- 
ernment should adopt a policy 
in the sunshine and prosperity of peace which it scorned to resort to in the 
storms and adversities of war. 

The course of Secretary Chase in guaranteeing coin payment on all bonds 
of the United States was followed by his successors, Secretary Fessenden and 
Secretary McCulloch. The words of Mr. Fessenden are entitled to great weight 
in the premises, for he had been chairman of Finance in the Senate during 
the passage of all the loan bills, had elaborately discussed them in turn, and 




WILLIAM PITT FESSENDEN. 



264 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



had as largely as any single member in either branch of Congress, shaped their 
provisions. His views on the question at issue may be briefly presented by the 
following extract from his official report made to Congress in December, 1864: 
"Though forced to resort to the issue of paper for the time, the idea of a 
specie basis was not lost sight of, as the payment of interest on long loans in 
coin was amply secured. And though in several of the acts authorizing the issue 
of bonds at long periods payment of the principal at maturity in coin is not 

specifically provided, the omission, it 
is believed, was accidental, as there 
could have been no intention to make 
a distinction be twee )i the different 
classes of securities in this regard" 
It will be noted that this declar- 
ation of Mr. Fessenden, made in his 
official report, was at the very time 
of the negotiation of the five-twenties 
of 1864, and preceded the large sale 
of seven-thirties which were convert- 
ible into five-twenties. So that in 
effect it was an additional guarantee 
of coin payment on the part of the 
Government, operating at once as 
the condition and the inducement 
of the loan. 

It is well known that Secretary 
McCulloch entertains precisel}' the 
same opinions that were so freely 
expressed by Messrs. Chase and Fes- 
senden, and he placed himself on 
record on the question by his letter 
to L. P. Morton & Co., of New York, 
wherein he says, under date of November 15, 1866: 

" I regard, as did also my predecessors, all bonds of the United States as 
payable in coin. The bonds which have matured since the suspension of specie 
payments have been so paid, and I have no doubt that the same will be true 
with all others. This being, as I understand it to be, the established policy of the 
Government, the five-twenty bonds of 1862 will either be called in at the 
expiration of five years from their date and paid in coin, or be permitted to run 
until the Government is prepared to pa}' them in coin." 

In view of the uniform declarations of the Treasury Department, made through 
official reports, through public proposals for loans, and through personal letters 
of assurance, all guaranteeing coin payment of the five-twenty bonds, I submit 
that the Government is bound thereto even if there were no other obligation 




HUGH M CULLOCH. 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 265 

expressed or implied. These official and unofficial promulgations from the Treasury 
Department were made with the full knowledge of Congress, and without the 
slightest expression of dissent on the part of that body. Had Congress not believed 
or intended that the five-twenty bonds were to be paid in coin, the secretary 
should not have been allowed with its evident assent so to advertise ; and 
for, Congress, after this significant permission and warrant, to step forward at 
this late day and declare itself not bound by the conditions published by the 
secretary is simply to place the United States Government in the position of a 
man playing a " confidence game," in which the Treasury Department and 
Congress are the confederate knaves, >nd the whole mass of bondholders the 
unfortunate victims. 

But now, Mr. Chairman, suppose, for the sake of argument, we admit that 
the Government may fairly and legally pay the five-twenty bonds in paper 
currency, what then ? I ask the gentleman from Massachusetts to tell us, what 
then ? It is easy, I know, to issue as many greenbacks as will pay the 
maturing bonds, regardless of the effect upon the inflation of prices and the 
general derangement of business. Five hundred millions of the five-twenties are 
now payable, and, according to the mode suggested, all we have to do is to set 
the printing presses in motion, and "so long as rags and lampblack holdout" 
we need have no embarrassment about paying our national debt. But the ugly 
question recurs What are you going to do with the greenbacks thus put afloat ? 
Five hundred millions this year, and eleven hundred millions more on this 
theory of payment by the year 1872, so that within the period of four or five 
years we would have added to our paper money the trifling inflation of 
$1,600,000,000. 

Payment of the five-twenty bonds in paper currency involves, therefore, a 
limitless issue of greenbacks, with attendant evils of great magnitude. The 
worst evil of the whole is the delusion which calls this a payment at all. It 
is no payment in any proper sense, for it neither gives the creditor what he is 
entitled to, nor does it release the debtor from subsequent responsibility. You 
may get rid of the five-twenty by issuing the greenback, but how will you get 
rid of the greenback except by paying coin ? The only escape from ultimate 
payment of coin is to declare that as a nation we permanently and finally 
renounce all idea of ever attaining a specie standard ; that we launch ourselves 
upon an ocean of paper money, without shore or sounding, with no rudder to 
guide us and no compass to steer by. This is precisely what is involved if we 
adopt this mischievous suggestion of " a new wa)' to pay old debts." Our fate in 
attempting such a course may be easily read in the history of similar follies both 
in Europe and in our own country. Prostration of credit, financial disaster, wide- 
spread distress among all classes of the community, would form the closing scenes 
in our career of gratuitous folly and national dishonor. From such an abyss of 
sorrow and humiliation it would be a painful and toilsome effort to regain as 
sound a position in our finances as we are asked voluntarily to abandon to-day. 



260 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

Still another question that sprang with infinite contention into the debates 
of the epoch was that of the taxation of the bonds of the United States. On 
this subject in the House of Representatives, on the twenty-third of June, 1868 
Mr. Blaine delivered a speech which may be accepted as at least a summary of 
his views on the important topic under consideration. The House was in Com- 
mittee of the Whole, and the speaker had prepared his views with unusual 
care. He spoke as follows : 

TAXATION OF GOVERNMENT BONDS. 

Mr. Chairman The fact that the bonds of the United States are exempt 
from State and municipal taxation has created discontent among the people, 
the belief prevailing quite generally that if this exemption could be removed 
the local burdens of the tax-payer would be immediately and essentially 
lightened. Many persons assert this belief from a spirit of mischievous dema- 
gogism, and many do so from sincere conviction. To the latter class I beg to 
submit some facts and suggestions which may modify if not entirely change 
their conclusions. 

The total coin-bearing debt of the United States, the conversion of seven- 
thirties being now practically completed, amounts to a little more than 
twenty-one hundred million dollars ; of this large amount, some two hundred 
million dollars draw but five per cent interest, a rate not sufficiently high in 
the present condition of the money market to provoke hostility or suggest 
the especial necessity of taxation. Indeed, it may be safely said that there 
never has been any popular dissatisfaction with regard to the non-taxation of 
the five per cents, it being agreed by common consent that such a rate of 
interest was not unreasonable on a loan negotiated at such a time. 

The agitation may, therefore, be regarded as substantially confined to the 
six per cent coin-bearing bonds, which amount to nineteen hundred million 
dollars. Many people honestly, but thoughtlessly, believe that if this class of 
bonds could be taxed by local authority the whole volume represented by them 
would at once be added to the lists of the assessor. It is my purpose to show 
that this conclusion is totally unfounded, and that if the right of local taxation 
existed in its amplest extent, but a minor fraction of the bonds could by any 
possibility be subjected to larger local tax than they already pay. 

The en,tire amount of these bonds, as I have stated, is nineteen hundred 
million dollars ; and of this total, by the best and most careful estimates 
attainable, at least six hundred and fifty millions are now held in Europe. 
This amount could not, therefore, be reached by any system of local taxation, 
however searching. Deducting the amount thus held abroad, we find the J 
amount held at home is reduced to twelve hundred and fifty million dollars. 

But of this twelve hundred and fifty millions, more than one-third, or to 
speak with accuracy, about four hundred and twentjr-five millions, are held byj 
the national banks, and no form of property in the United States pays so large 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 267 

a tax, both local and general, as these banks. The stock, the depositories and 
the deposits which these four hundred and twenty-five millions of bonds 
represent pay full local tax at the highest rate, besides a national tax averag- 
ing about two and a half per cent. Were the power of local taxation made 
specific on the bonds held by the national banks, they could not yield a dollar 
more than is now realized. It thus follows that the twelve hundred and fifty 
millions of bonds in this country, presumptively escaping local taxation, must 
be reduced by the amount represented by the banks, and hence we find the 
aggregate falls to eight hundred and twenty-five millions. 

The reduction, however, goes still farther, for it must be remembered that 
the savings banks have invested their deposits in these bonds to the amount of 
one hundred and seventy-five millions. In some States by local law the 
deposits of savings banks are exempt from taxation, as an incentive to thrift 
and economy. In other States, \\mere these deposits are taxed, as in Connecticut, 
it has been held by judicial decision that the fact of their investment in United 
States bonds does not exempt them fiom taxation. Hence these one hundred 
and seventy-five millions, thus invested in savings bank deposits, are either locally 
taxable, or, if exempt, it is by State law and not by virtue of the general 
exemption of the bonds. It thus follows that the eight hundred and twenty- 
five millions must be further reduced by this sum of one hundred and seventj-- 
five millions, leaving but six hundred and fifty millions not already included 
within the scope of local taxation. 

But there is a still further reduction of thirty millions of bonds held by the 
life insurance companies on precisely the same terms as the deposits of savings 
banks that is, either taxed locally, or, if exempt, deriving the exemption from 
the local law. The surplus earnings and reserves of these life insurance com- 
panies, invested to the extent of thirty millions in United States bonds, are as 
open to taxation when invested in that form as though they were held in State 
or railroad securities. Deducting these thirty millions, we find the untaxed 
bonds reduced to six hundred and twenty millions. 

There is still another large reduction ; for the fire and marine insurance 
companies, the annuity and trust companies, and other corporations which 
cannot readily be classed, hold in the aggregate of over one hundred and twenty- 
five millions of bonds ; and these are held on precisely the same basis as those 
held by the savings bank and the life insurance companies. These numerous 
corporations have their capital stock, their reserves and their surplus earnings 
invested in Government bonds to the extent named, and they are in this form as 
open to taxation, and are actually taxed as much, as though they were invested 
in any other form of security. Making the deduction of this one hundred and 
twenty-five millions, we find remaining but four hundred and ninety-five millions 
of the six per cent gold-bearing bonds that are not already practically sub- 
jected to local taxation. Allowing for the possibility that one hundred millions 
of the five per cents are held instead of six per cents in all the channels of 



208 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

investment I have named, and it follows that at the outside figure there are 
to-day in the whole country less than six hundrec 1 millions of Government 
sixes, not fully subjected to the power of local taxation. And these six hun- 
dred millions are rapidly growing less as the various corporate institutions I 
have named continue to invest their funds in the bonds. These institutions 
desire a security that is of steady value, not liable to fluctuation, and at all 
times convertible into money ; and hence they seek Government bonds in pref- 
erence to any other form of investment. The high premium on the bonds 
induces individuals to part with them, and hence they are readily transferred to 
corporate ownership, where they become in effect at once subject to local taxa- 
tion, and are no longer obnoxious to the charge of evading or escaping their 
just share of municipal burden. In the hands of individuals the bonds may be 
concealed, but in the possession of corporations concealment is necessarily 
impossible. 

If these statistical statements needed any verification it would be supplied 
b}' an examination of the income returns recently made under oath and pub- 
lished in all the large cities of the country, disclosing the fact that the amount 
of bonds held by the wealthy men of the country has been continually grow- 
ing less, just as they have been absorbed by foreign purchase and by corporate 
investment. The correctness of these income returns in reference to the invest- 
ment in bonds will be accepted even by the incredulous and the uncharitable, 
when it is remembered that the interest of those making them was to exag- 
gerate rather than depreciate the respective amounts of bonds held by them. 
Instead, then, of nineteen hundred millions of these bonds running free of taxation, 
it is clear that less than six hundred millions are open to that charge less than 
one-third of the whole amount. The remainder, largely more than two-thirds 
of the whole, are either held abroad, where no local taxation can reach them, 
or they are held at home in such form as subjects them to local taxation. 

Let us suppose that we were now in possession of the full power to tax 
by local authority these six hundred millions of bonds presumptively owned 
by individuals! Would we realize anything from it? On its face the prospect 
might be fair and inviting, but in practice it would assuredly prove delusive 
and deceptive. The trouble would be that the holders of the bonds could not 
be found. No form of property is so easily concealed, none so readily trans- 
ferred back and forth, none so difficult to trace to actual ownership. We have 
hundreds of millions of State bonds, city bonds, and railroad securities in this 
country, and yet every one knows that it is only an infinitesimal proportion of 
this vast investment that is ever represented on the books of assessors and tax 
collectors. As a pertinent illustration, I might cite the case of the bonds of 
my own State, of which there are over five millions in existence to-day, largely 
held as a favorite investment by the citizens of Maine. Of this whole sum I 
am safe in saying that scarcely a dollar is found on the lists of any assessor 
in the State. 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 269 

The facility for concealing ownership in national bonds is far greater than 
in any other form of security, and the proportion in the hands of individuals 
that would escape the assessment of local taxes may be inferred with reasonable 
certainty from the analogies I have suggested, which are familiar to all who 
have given the least attention to the subject. Indeed, I venture to assert with 
confidence that if the power of local taxation of these bonds were fully accorded 
to-day, the tax-lists of our cities and towns would not be increased on an average 
one per cent. Many of those who to-day may be ambitious to parade their bonds 
when protected by what is deemed an offensive exemption, would suddenly have 
no bonds when the power of taxation applied to them. Indeed, the utter failure 
to realize anything from this source, if the power to test it were granted, would 
in the end create more dissatisfaction than that exemption, which, in theory, is 
offensive, but in practice is absolutely of no consequence whatever. 

But it may be asked, " Why are not the bonds taxed by national authority ?" 
Granted, it will be urged, that the power of local taxation would be nugatory 
and valueless, " that affords all the stronger reason for taxing the bonds by 
direct congressional enactment." In answer to this I have only to say that a 
tax levied directly upon the coupon is simply an abatement of interest, and that 
result can be reached in a better and more satisfactory and more honorable way. 
The determination manifested by this Congress and by the great Republican 
convention at Chicago to maintain the national faith has already worked a large 
appreciation in the value of the bonds, and with the strengthening of our credit, 
which results from an honest policy, we shall speedily be able to fund our debt 
on a lower scale of interest, running down to five, four and a half, and ultimately 
to four per cent per annum. Should we proceed, however, in violation of good 
faith and of the uniform practice of civilized nations, to hold back part of the 
stipulated interest instead of effecting an honorable exchange of bonds to 
the mutual advantage of the Government and the public creditor, we should 
only punish ourselves, produce calamitous results in the business world, and 
permanentlv injure our national fame. 

To withhold one per cent of the interest under the plea of a national tax 
this year might be followed by withholding two per cent next year, and three 
per cent the year ensuing. To enter upon such a policy would produce alarm 
at home and distrust abroad, for every man holding a bond would be forced to 
count his rate of interest not on what was stipulated in the contract, but on what 
might be the will and caprice of Congress in its annual withholding of a portion 
of the interest under the pretence of a tax. Under such a policy our bonds 
would be returned upon us from Europe with panic-like rapidity, and the drain 
upon our specie resources would produce an immediate and disastrous crisis in 
monetary circles. If even one-half of our bonds held in Europe were suddenly 
sent home it would drain us of two hundred and fifty millions of specie, and the 
financial distress throughout the land would be beyond the power of calculation 
or imagination. And yet that is the precise result involved if we should follow 



270 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



the policy advocated by those who urge us to tax the coupon and withhold oue 
or two per cent of the interest. Let us reject such counsels, and adhere to the 
stead}', straightforward course dictated alike by good policy and good faith. 
Let us never forget that in the language of the Chicago platform " the best policy 
to diminish our burden of debt is to so improve our credit that capitalists will seek 
to loan us money at lower rates of interest than we now pay, and must continue 
to pay, so long as repudiation, either partial or total, open or covert, is threatened 
or suspected." 

We thus conclude our summary and citations from the speeches of James 
G. Blaine in the House of Representatives. In the meantime, his own career 
had been advancing from stage to stage. Already he had been before the 
National Convention of the Republican party, held in Cincinnati, in June, of 
1S76, and had been within a few votes of the nomination. With the changes 
of political life Senator Morrill, of Maine, had been transferred to a place in 
the Cabinet, and Mr. Blaine, himself, was appointed to take the vacant seat in 
the Senate. This he did, leaving behind him the stormy arena of the House, 
to take up the more judicial, but less dramatic, discussions and business of 
the Senatorial body. In that relation we shall see him for a brief period. In 
the following chapter we shall pursue the same method as in this in presenting 
the products of his genius in the debates of the Senate of the United States. 





CHAPTER XIII. 

SPEECHES AND ADDRESSES SENATORIAL. 

AMES G. BLAINE at length reached the Senate. His repu- 
tation is now national. Already since 1876 his fame has 
been sounded through the country. His appearance in the 
senatorial body was not an accident, but the result of growth 
and development. This evolution is illustrated in his oratory 
his argument. There was much in the House of Repre- 
sentatives that was well suited to Mr. Blaine's genius. The 
House is a stormy arena and his spirit was stormy also. 
In his speech he always had much of the extemporaneous 
manner and matter. He was especially quick to respond to 
the occasion. His faculties flamed up like fire when his 
/I Ho'n n n fi fff^S\ opinions were crossed or his feelings ruffled. He was essen- 
y ; So^^r/ tially an extemporaneous debater. His power of repartee 
was immense. Much of his most brilliant work was done 
under the spur of the moment. While he was a man given 
from his youth to careful preparation he was also from his 
youth capable of thinking on his feet. 

All these qualities stood him well in hand in the House. 
In the Senate the}- will be less available. The Senate of 
the United States is a truly deliberative body. The American 
people may be congratulated on the dignity and reserve 
which generally mark the proceedings of our Upper House. It may be doubted 
whether the temper and talents of Mr. Blaine were happily suited to the serious 
and stern discussion of the Senatorial Chamber. Nevertheless, his faculties were 
now mature, and there was less storm in his spirit and manner than there had 
been in the early and middle days of his career. We shall, in the present 
chapter, illustrate the nature of his senatorial work with copious extracts from 
his speeches after his transference from the House. Mr. Blaine was at this 
time forty-seven years of age. He was, bating a single circumstance, in the 
hevday of his power and fame. That circumstance related to the injury 
which was manifestly done to his brain and nervous system by the sunstroke 
which came upon him just before the National Convention of 1876. Mr. Blaine 
was never himself in full force after that event. Probably no one who in mid-lite 
has been struck down with such prostration ever completely and fully recovers. 
Blaine did recover, but there was doubtless always after that a check and rein 
upon his audacity. If we mistake not, he himself imposed upon himself the 
necessary restraint. 

(271) 



272 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

We shall not here philosophize but, proceed directly to the consideration of 
his senatorial oratory. On the seventh of February, 1878, he delivered in the 
Senate a speech on the remonetizatiou of silver. That question was then in 
full flush before the American public. Silver had been adroitly remonetized 
four years before. The world knows the circumstances of the great contention. 
In the retrospect we may note with interest the movements of Mr. Blaine's 
mind in discussing the silver problem. On the occasion referred to, he said : 

Mr. President The discussion on the question of remouetizing silver has 
been prolonged and exhaustive. I ma}' not expect to add much to its value, 
but I promise not to add much to its length. I shall endeavor to consider 
facts rather than theories, to state conclusions rather than arguments. 

I believe gold and silver coin to be the money of the Constitution indeed, 
the money of the American people anterior to the Constitution, money which the 
organic law of the Republic recognized as independent of its own existence. 
No power was conferred on Congress to declare that either metal should not be 
money. Congress has therefore, in my judgment, no more power to demonetize 
silver than to demonetize gold ; no more power to demonetize either than to 
demonetize both. In this statement I am but repeating the weight} 7 dictum of 
the first of constitutional lawyers. "I am certainly of opinion," said Mr. Webster, 
" that gold and silver, at rates fixed by Congress, constitute the legal standard 
of value in this country, and that neither Congress nor any State has authority 
to establish any other standard or to displace this standard." Few persons can 
be found, I apprehend, who will maintain that Congress possesses the power 
to demonetize both gold and silver, or that Congress could be justified in pro- 
hibiting the coinage of both ; and yet in logic and legal construction it would 
be difficult to show where and why the power of Congress over silver is greater 
than over gold greater over either than over both. If, therefore, silver has 
been demonetized, I am in favor of remonetizing it. If its coinage has been 
prohibited, I am in favor of ordering it to be resumed. If it has been restricted, 
I am in favor of ordering it to be enlarged. 

What power, then, has Congress over gold and silver ? It has the exclusive 
power to coin them ; the exclusive power to regulate their value very great, 
very wise, very necessary powers, for the discreet exercise of which a critical 
occasion has now arisen. However men may differ about causes and processes, 
all will, admit that within a few years a great disturbance has taken place in 
the relative values of gold and silver, and that silver is worth less or gold is 
worth more in the money markets of the world in 1S78 than in 1873, when 
the further coinage of silver dollars was prohibited in this countrv. To remonetize 
it now, as though essential conditions had not changed, is willfully and blindly 
to deceive ourselves. If our demonetization were the only cause for the decline 
in the value of silver, then remonetizatiou would be its proper and effectual 
cure. But other causes, beyond our control, have been far more potentially 
operative than the simple fact that Congress prohibited its further coinage. As 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 273 

legislators we are bound to take cognizance of these causes. The demonetization 
of silver in the German Empire and the consequent partial, or well-nigh complete, 
suspension of coinage in the governments of the Latin Union, have been the 
leading causes for the rapid decline in the value of silver. I do not think the 
over-supply of silver has had, in comparison with these other causes, an appre- 
ciable influence in the decline of its value, because its over-supply with respect 
to gold in these later years has not been so great as was the over-supply of 
gold with respect to silver for many years after the mines of California and 
Australia were opened ; and the over-supply of gold from those rich sources did 
not affect the relative positions and uses of the two metals in any European 
country. 

I believe then, if Germany were to remonetize silver and the kingdoms and 
states of the Latin Union were to re-open their mints, silver would at once 
resume its former relation with gold. The European countries when driven to 
full remonetization, as I believe they will be in the end, must of necessity adopt 
their old ratio of fifteen and a half of silver to one of gold, and we shall then 
be compelled to adopt the same instead of our former ratio of sixteen to one. 
If we fail to do this we shall, as before, lose our silver, which, like all things 
else, seeks the highest market ; and if fifteen and a half pounds of silver will 
buy as much gold in Europe as sixteen pounds will buy in America, the silver, 
of course, will go to Europe. But our line of policy in a joint movement with 
other nations to remonetize is simple and direct. The difficult problem is what 
we shall do when we aim to re-establish silver without the co-operation of 
European powers, and really as an advance movement to coerce those powers 
into the same policy. Evidently the first dictate of prudence is to coin such a 
dollar as will not only do justice among our citizens at home, but will prove 
a protection an absolute barricade against the gold mono-metallists of Europe, 
who, whenever the opportunity offers, will quickty draw from us the one hun- 
dred and sixty millions of gold coin which we now hold. If we coin a silver 
dollar of full legal tender, obviously below the current value of the gold dollar, 
we are simply opening our doors and inviting Europe to take our gold. With 
our gold flowing out from us we shall be forced to the single silver standard, 
and our relations with the leading commercial countries of the world will be not 
only embarassed, but crippled. 

The question before Congress then sharply defined in the pending House 
bill is, whether it is now safe and expedient to offer free coinage to the silver 
dollar of 4i2^grains, with the mints of the Latin Union closed and Germany 
not permitting silver to be coined as money. At current rates of silver, the 
free coinage of a dollar containg 412^ grains, worth in gold about ninety-two 
cents, gives an illegitimate profit to the owner of the bullion, enabling him to 
take ninety-two cents' worth of it to the mint and get it stamped as coin and 
force his neighbor to take it for a full dollar. This is an unfair advantage 
which the Government has no right to give to the owner of silver bullion, and 



18 



274 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

which defrauds the man who is forced to take the dollar. It assuredly follows 
that if we give free coinage to this dollar of inferior value and put it in circu- 
lation, we do so at the expense of our better coinage in gold ; and unless we 
expect the invariable experience of other nations to be in some mysterious way 
suspended for our peculiar benefit, we inevitably lose our gold coin. It will flow 
out from us with the certainty and with the force of the tides. Gold has, indeed, 
remained with us in considerable amount during the circulation of the inferior 
currency of the legal tender; but that was because there w r ere two great uses 
reserved by law for gold, the collection of customs and the payment of inter- 
est on the public debt. But if the inferior silver coin is also to be used for 
these two reserved purposes, then gold has no tie to bind it to us. What gain, 
therefore, should we make for the circulating medium, if on opening the gate 
for silver to flow in, we open a still wider gate for gold to flow out? If I were 
to venture upon a dictum on the silver question, I should declare that until 
Europe remonetizes silver we cannot afford to coin a dollar as low as 412^ 
grains. After Europe remonetizes on the old standard, we cannot afford to 
coin a dollar above 400 grains. If we coin too low a dollar before general 
remonetization our gold will leave us. If we coin too high a dollar after 
general remonetization our silver will leave us. It is only an equated value 
before and after general remonetization that will preserve both gold and silver 
to us. 

Cjusider further what injustice would be done to every holder of a legal 
tender or national bank note. That large volume of paper money in excess of 
seven hundred millions of dollars is now worth between ninety-eight and 
ninety-nine cents on the dollar in gold coin. The holders of it, who are, indeed, 
our entire population from the poorest to the richest, have been promised from 
the hour of its issue that their paper money would one day be as good as 
gold. To pay silver for the greenback is a full compliance with this promise 
and this obligation, provided the silver is made as it always has been hitherto, 
as good as gold. To make our silver coin even three per cent less valuable 
than gold inflicts at once a loss of more than twenty millions of dollars on the 
holders of our paper money. To make a silver dollar worth but ninety-two 
cents precipitates on the same class a loss of nearly sixty millions of dollars. 
For whatever the value of the silver dollar is, the whole paper issue of the 
country will sink to its standard when its coinage is authorized and its circula- 
tion becomes general in the channels of trade. Some one in conversation with 
Commodore Vanderbilt, during one of the many freight competitions of the 
trunk lines, said : "It cannot be that the Canadian Railroad has sufficient carry- 
ing capacity to compete with your great line ? " " That is true," replied the 
Commodore, " but they can fix a rate and force us down to it." Were Con- 
gress to pass a law to-day declaring that every legal tender note and every 
national bank note shall hereafter pass for only ninety-six or ninety-seven 
cents on the dollar, there is not a constituency in the United States that 







i 












276 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

would re-elect a man who supported it, and in many districts the representa- 
tive would be lucky if he escaped merely with a defeat at the polls. 

Yet it is almost mathematically demonstrable that the same effect will 
follow from the coinage of an inferior silver dollar. Assurances from empirics 
and scientists in finance that remonetization of the former dollar will at once 
and permanently advance its value to par with gold, are worth little in the 
face of opposing and controlling facts. The first effect of issuing any silver 
dollar that will pay customs dues and interest on the public debt will 
undoubtedly be to raise it to a practical equality with gold ; but that 
condition will last only until the amount needful for customs shall fill the 
channels of its use ; and the overflow going into general circulation will 
rapidly settle to its normal and actual value, and then the discount will come 
on the volume of the paper currency, which will sink, pari passu, with the 
silver dollar in which it is made redeemable. That remonetization will have 
a considerable effect in advancing the value of the silver dollar is very 
probable, but not enough to overcome the difference now existing a difference 
resulting from causes independent of our control in the United States. 

The responsibility of re-establishing silver in its ancient and honorable 
place as money in Europe and America devolves really upon the. Congress of 
the United States. If we act here with wisdom and firmness, we shall not 
only successfully remonetize silver, and bring it into general use as money in 
our own country, but the influence of our example will be potential among 
European nations, with the possible exception of England. Indeed, our annual 
indebtment to Europe is so great that, if we have the right to pay it in 
silver, we necessarily coerce those nations, by the strongest of all forces, 
self-interest, to aid us in upholding the value of silver as money. But if we 
attempt the remonetization on a basis which is obviously below the fair standard 
of value as it now exists, we incur all the evil consequences of failure at home, 
and the certainty of successful opposition abroad. We are, and shall be, the 
greatest producers of silver in the world, and we have a larger stake in its 
complete monetization than any other country. The difference to the United 
States, between the general acceptance and the general destruction of silver as 
money in the commercial world, will possibly, within the next half-century,; 
equal the entire bonded debt of the nation. But, to gain this advantage, we 
must make it actual money, the accepted equal of gold in the markets of the* 
world. Remonetization here, followed by general remonetization in Europe, 
will secure to the United States the most stable basis for its currency that we| 
have ever enjoyed, and will effectually aid in solving all the problems by 
which our financial situation is surrounded. 

On the much-vexed and long-mooted question of a bi-metallic or mono- 
metallic standard, my own views are sufficiently indicated in the remarks I 
have made. I believe the struggle now going on in this country, and in 
other countries, for a single gold standard, would, if successful, produce 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 277 

disaster in the end throughout the commercial world. The destruction of 
silver as money, and the establishment of gold as the sole unit of value, must 
have a ruinous effect on all forms of property except those investments which 
yield a fixed return in money. These would be enormously enhanced in 
value, and would gain a disproportionate, and therefore unfair, advantage over 
every other species of property. If, as the most reliable statistics affirm, there 
are nearly seven thousand millions of coin or bullion in the world, not very 
! unequally divided between gold and silver, it is impossible to strike silver out 
of existence as money without results which will prove distressing to millions, 
and utterly disastrous to tens of thousands. Alexander Hamilton, in his able 
and invaluable report in 1791 on the establishment of a mint, declared that 
" to annul the use of either gold or silver as money is to abridge the quantity 
of circulating medium, and is liable to all the objections which arise from a 
comparison of the benefits of a full circulation with the evils of a scanty 
circulation." I take no risk in saying that the benefits of a full circulation 
aud the evils of a scanty circulation are both immeasurably greater to-day than 
they were when Mr. Hamilton littered these weighty words, always provided 
that the circulation is one of actual money, and not of depreciated " promises 
to pay." 

In the report from which I have already quoted, Mr. Hamilton argues at 
length in favor of a double standard, and all the subsequent experience of 
ninety years has brought out no clearer statement of the case, or developed a 
more complete comprehension of this subtle and difficult subject. " On the 
whole," says Mr. Hamilton, " it seems most advisable not to attach the unit 
exclusively to either of the metals, because this cannot be clone effectually 
without destroying the office and character of one of them as money, and 
reducing it to the situation of mere merchandise." Mr. Hamilton wisely 
concludes that this reduction of either of the metals to mere merchandise (I 
again quote his exact words) " would probably be a greater evil than occasional 
variations in the unit from the fluctuations in the relative value of the metals, 
especially if care be taken to regulate the proportion between them, with an 
eye to their average commercial value." I do not think that this country, hold- 
ing so vast a proportion of the world's supply of silver in its mountains and 
its mines, can afford to reduce the metal to the " situation of mere merchandise." 
If silver ceases to be used as money in Europe and America, the mines of the 
Pacific slope will be closed and dead. Mining enterprises of the gigantic scale 
existing in this country cannot be carried on to provide backs for mirrors, and 
to manufacture cream-pitchers and sugar-bowls. A source of incalculable wealth 
to this entire country is destroyed the moment silver is permanently disused as 
money. It is for us to check that tendency, and bring the continent of Europe 
back to the full recognition of the value of the metal as a medium of exchange. 

The question of beginning anew the coinage of silver dollars has aroused 
much discussion as to its effect on the public credit. The Senator from Ohio 



278 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

(Mr. Matthews) placed .this phase of the subject in the very forefront of the 
debate insisting, prematurely and illogically, I think, on a sort of judicial con- 
struction in advance, by concurrent resolution, of a certain law in case 
that law should happen to be passed by Congress. My own view on this 
question can be stated very briefly. I believe the public creditor can afford 
to be paid in any silver dollar that the United States can afford to coin 
and circulate. We have forty thousand millions of property in this country, 
and a wise self-interest will not permit us to overturn its relations by seeking 
for an inferior dollar wherewith to settle the honest demands of any creditor. 
The question might be different from a merely selfish point of view if, on 
paying the dollar to the public creditor, it would disappear after performing 
that function. But the trouble is that the inferior dollar 3-011 pay the public 
creditor remains in circulation, to the exclusion of the better dollar. That 
which you pay at home will stay here ; that which you send abroad will 
come back. The interest of the public creditor is indissolubly bound up with 
the interest of the whole people. Whatever affects him affects us all ; and the 
evil that we might inflict upon him by paying an inferior dollar would recoil 
upon us with a vengeance as manifold as the aggregate wealth of the Republic 
transcends the comparatively small limits of our bonded debt. Remember that 
our aggregate wealth is always increasing, and our bonded debt steadily grow- 
ing less ! If paid in a good silver dollar, the bondholder has nothing to complain 
of. If paid in an inferior silver dollar, he has the same grievance that will be 
uttered still more plaintively by the holder of the legal tender note and of the 
national bank bill, by the pensioner, by the day laborer, and by the countless 
host of the poor, whom we have with us always, and on whom the most dis- 
tressing effect of inferior money will be ultimately precipitated. 

But I must say, Mr. President, that the specific demand for the payment of 
our bonds in gold coin, and in nothing else, comes with an ill grace from certain 
quarters. European criticism is leveled against us, and hard names are hurled 
at us across the ocean, for simply daring to state that the letter of our law declares 
the bonds to be payable in standard coin of July 14, 1S70 ; explicitly 
declared so, and declared so in the interest of the public creditor, and the 
declaration inserted in the very body of the eight hundred millions of bonds 
that have been issued since that date. Beyond all doubt, the silver dollar was 
included in the standard coins of that public act. Payment at that time would j 
have been as acceptable and as undisputed in silver as in gold dollars, for 
both were equally valuable in the European as well as in the American 
market. Seven-eighths of all our bonds owned out of the country are held 
in Germany and in Holland. Germany has demonetized silver, and Holland 
has been forced thereby to suspend its coinage, since the subjects ol both 
Powers purchased our securities. The German Empire, the very year after 
we made our specific declaration for paying our bonds in coin, passed a law | 
destroying, so far as lay in its power, the value of silver as money. I do 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 279 

not say that it was specially aimed at this country, but it was passed regard- 
less of its effect upon us, and was followed, according to public and uudenied 
statement, by a large investment on the part of the German Government 
in our bonds, with a view, it was understood, of holding them as a coin reserve 
for drawing gold from us to aid in establishing their new gold standard at 
home. Thus, by one move the German Government destroyed, so far as lay 
in its power, the then existing value of silver as money, enhanced conse- 
quently the value of gold, and then got into position to draw gold from 
us at the moment of its need, which would also be the moment of our 
own sorest distress. I do not say that the German Government, in these 
successive steps, did a single thing which it had not a perfect right to do, 
but I do say that the subjects of that empire have no reason to complain 
of our Government for the initial step which has impaired the value of one 
of our standard coins. The German Government, by joining with us in the 
remonetization of silver, can place that standard coin in its old position, and 
make it as easy for this Government to pay and as profitable for its subjects to 
receive the one metal as the other. 

When we pledged the public creditor in 1S70 that our obligations should 
be paid in the standard coin of that date, silver bullion was worth in the London 
market a fraction over sixty pence per ounce; its average for the past eight 
months has been about fifty-four pence ; the price reckoned in gold in both cases. 
But the large difference is due in part to the rise of gold as well as to the fall 
of silver. Allowing for both causes and dividing the difference, it will be 
found, in the judgment of many of the wisest men in this country, perfectly 
safe to issue a dollar of 425 grains standard silver; as one that, anticipating 
the full and legitimate influence of remonetization, will equate itself with the 
gold dollar, and effectually guard against the drain of our gold during the time 
necessary for international conference in regard to the general re-establishment 
of silver as money. When that general re-establishment shall be effected with 
a coinage of fewer grains, the dollar which I am now advocating will not cause 
loss or embarrassment to any one. The miner of the ore, the owner of the 
bullion, the holder of the coin, and the government that issues it, will all 
in turn be benefited. It will yield a profit on recoinage and will be advantageously 
employed in our commercial relations with foreign countries. Meanwhile it will 
insure to our laborers at home a full dollar's pay for a dollar's worth of work. 

I think we owe this to the American laborer. Ever since we demonetized 
the old dollar we have been running our mints at full speed, coining a new 
silver dollar for the use of the Chinese coolie and the Indian pariah a dollar 
containing 420 grains of standard silver, with its superiority over our ancient 
dollar ostentatiously engraved on its reverse side. To these " outside barbarians " 
we send this superior dollar, bearing all our national emblems, our patriotic 
devices, our pious inscriptions, our goddess of liberty, our defiant eagle, our 
federal unity, our trust in God. This dollar contains 7^ grains more silver 



280 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

than the famous " dollar of the fathers," proposed to be recoined by the pending 
bill, and more than four times as many of these new dollars have already been 
coined as ever were coined of all other silver dollars in the United States. In 
the exceptional and abnormal condition of the silver market now existing 
throughout the world, we have felt compelled to increase the weight of the 
dollar with which we carry on trade with the heathen nations of Asia. Shall 
we do less for the American laborer at home ? Nay, shall we not do a little better and 
a little more for those of our own blood and our own fireside ? If you remonetize the 
dollar of the fathers your mints will be at once put to work on two different 
dollars different in weight, different in value, different in prestige, different in 
their reputation and currency throughout the commercial world. It will read 
strangely in history that the weightier and more valuable of these dollars is 
made for an ignorant class of heathen laborers in China and India, and that 
the lighter and less valuable is made for the intelligent and educated laboring- 
man who is a citizen of the United States. Charity, the adage says, begins at 
home. Charity, the independent American laborer scorns to ask, but he has 
the right to demand that justice should begin at home. In his name and in 
the name of common sense and common honest}-, I ask that the American 
Congress will not force upon the American laborer an inferior dollar which the 
naked and famishing laborers of India and China refuse to accept. 

The bill which I now offer as a substitute for the House bill contains three 
very simple provisions : 

i. That the dollar shall contain four hundred and twenty-five grains of 
standard silver, shall have unlimited coinage, and be an unlimited legal tender. 

2. That all the profits of coinage shall go to the Government, and not to 
the operator in silver bullion. 

3. That silver dollars or silver bullion, assayed and mint-stamped, may be 
deposited with the Assistant Treasurer at New York, for which coin certificates 
may be issued, the same in denomination as United States notes, not below ten 
dollars, and that these shall be redeemable on demand in coin or bullion. We 
shall thus secure a paper circulation based on an actual deposit of precious 
metal, giving us notes as valuable as those of the Bank of England and doing 
away at once with the dreaded inconvenience of silver 011 account of bulk and 
weight. 

I do not fail, Mr. President, to recognize that the committals and avowals 
of Senators on this question preclude the hope of my substitute being adopted. 
I do not indeed fail to recognize that on this question I am not in line with 
either extreme, with those who believe in the single gold standard or with 
those who by premature and unwise action, as I must regard it, would force us 
to the single silver standard. Either will be found, in my judgment, a great 
misfortune to our country. We need both gold and silver, and we can have 
both only by making each the equal of the other. It would not be difficult to 
show that, in the nations where both have been fully recognized and most 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 281 

widely diffused, the steadiest and most continuous prosperity has been enjoyed 
that true form of prosperity which reaches all classes, but which begins with 
the day-laborer whose toil lays the foundation of the whole superstructure of 
wealth. The exclusively gold nation like England may show the most massive 
fortunes in the ruling classes, but it shows also the most helpless and hopeless 
poverty in the humbler walks of life. The gold and silver nation like France 
can exhibit no such individual fortunes as abound in a gold nation like Eng- 
land, but it has a peasantry whose silver savings can pay a war indemnity that 
would have beggared the gold bankers of London, and to which the peasantry 
of England could not have contributed a pound sterling in gold or even a shilling 
in silver. 

The effect of paying the labor of this country in silver coin of full value, 
as compared with irredeemable paper or as compared, even, with silver of 
inferior value will make itself felt in a single generation to the extent of tens 
of millions perhaps hundreds of millions in the aggregate savings which 
represent consolidated capital. It is the instinct of man from the savage to the 
scholar developed in childhood and remaining with age to value the metals 
which in all lands are counted " precious." Excessive paper money leads to 
extravagance, to waste, to want, as we painfully witness to-day. With aboiind- 
ing proof of its demoralizing and destructive effect, we hear it proclaimed in 
the Halls of Congress that " the people demand cheap money." I deny it. I 
declare such a phrase to be a total misapprehension a total misinterpretation 
of the popular wish. The people do not demand cheap money. They demand 
an abundance of good money, which is an entirely different thing. They do 
not want a single gold standard that will exclude silver and benefit those already 
rich. They do not want an inferior silver standard that will drive out gold and 
not help those already poor. They want both metals, in full value, in equal 
honor, in whatever abundance the bountiful earth will yield them to the searching 
eye of science and to the hard hand of labor. 

The two metals have existed side by side in harmonious, honorable com- 
panionship as money, ever since intelligent trade was known among men. It 
is well nigh forty centuries since " Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver which 
he had named in the audience of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of 
silver, current money with the merchant." Since that time nations have risen 
and fallen, races have disappeared, dialects and languages have been forgotten, 
arts have been lost, treasures have perished, continents have been discovered, 
islands have been sunk in the sea, and through all these ages and through all 
these changes silver and gold have reigned supreme as the representatives of 
value as the media of exchange. The dethronement of each has been attempted 
in turn, and sometimes the dethronement of both ; but always in vain. And we 
are here to-day, deliberating anew over the problem which comes down to us 
from Abraham's time the weight of the silver that shall be " current money with 
the merchant." 



282 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

A short time after the delivery of this speech on the silver question, Mr. 
Blaine took up a subject of international importance and debated it before the 
Senate. The theme was the Halifax award. It were long to tell the story 
how a decision against the United States had been reached in that matter. It 
is not well to review and criticise with severity the decisions of an international 
tribunal. Arbitration is the most beneficent principle which has appeared in 
modern diplomacy. It should be supported by the earnest sympathy and com- 
mendation of every lover of his country and every advocate of an advanced 
civilization. Nevertheless, it is true that in these the earlier years of accepted 
arbitration much injustice may be expected. The application of the principle is 
new. It is natural that the governments adopting it should at first bring to bear 
upon the international tribuual those political matters which have proved so 
available in the management of the affairs of the respective States. It is in the 
true nature of the international tribunal that its methods should be judicial, 
not political. For this reason injustice has appeared in varying degrees in nearly 
all of the decisions thus far reached. This was true in particular of the Halifax 
award. The decision against the United States in that matter was little short 
of iniquitous. It was so because the decision was gained by a series of nefarious 
processes which might well have been renounced by the Government of the 
United States if that Government could have done so without at the same time 
renouncing the principle of arbitration. Speaking on this question, on the 
eleventh of March, 1878, Mr. Blaine said: 

Mr. President. The resolution of inquiry, which I offered a fortnight 
ago, was met with objection and was laid over. I call it up now to explain my 
reasons for desiring its adoption. For some time past there have been rumors 
of an unpleasant character touching the mode in which M. Delfosse, the Belgian 
minister accredited to this country, was urged by the British Government as 
the third commissioner under the Treaty of Washington on the question of the 
fisheries. These rumors come in a form that enforces attention, and while I 
do not pretend to vouch for their entire accuracy, I think they are sufficiently 
grave to call for authentication or denial. 

It appears by these reports that during the conference of the joint high 
commission in April, 1S71, Lord Ripon, speaking for the English Government, 
said in relation to the several proposed arbitrations which were under discussion, 
that it would not be a proper thing for England to offer Belgium or Portugal 
as arbitrators ; and he especially spoke of Belgium as being incapacitated for the 
function by reason of her peculiar relations with England. This declaration was 
promptly assented to by the American commissioners. With the understanding 
thus volunteered by Lord Ripon, the Halifax commission of three arbitrators on 
the fisheries was agreed to our Government to name one, the British Govern- 
ment to name one, and the two governments conjointly to name the third. It 
was stipulated that if the two governments could not agree on the third com- 
missioner within three months, the Austrian ambassador at London should name 



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284 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

hirn. As soon as the fishery clause of the treaty went into effect in July, 1873, 
the Secretary of State, Mr. Fish, formally invited the British minister, Sir Edward 
Thornton, to confer with him in regard to the appointment of the third commis- 
sioner. He found Sir Edward without instructions from his Government, and 
after delaying for some days Mr. Fish took the initiative and submitted a number 
of names for his consideration. Among these, selected from a large field, were 
Mariscal, minister from Mexico; Offenberg, minister from Russia ; Borges, from 
Brazil ; Polo, from Spain ; the Count de Noailles, from France ; Westenberg, from 
Holland, and others. Mr. Fish did not include M. Delfosse among these, as he 
thought that his name had been fairly excluded by the understanding of the 
joint high commission. 

Sir Edward Thornton made no response for several weeks and then 
answered Mr. Fish, declining to accept any of the names submitted by him, 
and proposing in turn the single name of M. Delfosse. It was understood, I 
believe, that Sir Edward was acting under the direct instructions of Lord 
Granville, British secretary of foreign affairs. Mr. Fish peremptorily 
declined to accept M. Delfosse and quoted Lord Ripon's remark in regard to 
Belgium, and again urged Sir Edward to accept one of the names proposed 
by him or else to propose some names himself. In answer to this Sir Edward 
stated that Lord Dufferin, the Governor-General of the Dominion of Canada, 
speaking for the Canadians, objected to taking as the third commissioner any 
one accredited to our Government. Immediately after this declaration Sir 
Edward appeared at the State Department with fresh instructions from Lord 
Granville to insist on M. Delfosse, though at that very moment M. Delfosse 
was accredited to our Government. The only alternative presented by Sir 
Edward was that his Government would accept some "Dutch gentleman" that 
might be chosen at the Hague by the American and British ministers. This 
mode of selection was at once rejected by Mr. Fish as not being within the 
terms of the treat}'. The three months within which the two governments 
were to act conjointly having been thus exhausted, appareatlv by the design 
of the British Government, the matter was by the treat}' remanded to the 
Austrian ambassador at London. A delay of some years then ensued in 
consequence of the negotiations for a reciprocity treaty which, if secured, 
would have precluded the necessity of arbitrating the fishery question. The 
correspondence was not renewed until 1876. 

The result of the whole was that in February, 1S77, the Austrian 
ambassador at London nominated M. Delfosse as the third commissioner. It 
is now reported on the authority of an interview recently published in the 
New York Herald that Mr. Fish finally assented to the appointment of 
M. Delfosse by the Austrian ambassador. This may or may not be true, but 
it is not material to the issue ; for the matter had lapsed absolutely into the 
hands of the ambassador, and as he was resident in London, in easy com- 
munication with the British ministry, they had means of influencing the 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 285 

decision that were not within our power. Mr. Fish may well have thought 
that as the appointment of M. Delfosse was inevitable, it was prudent and 
expedient to submit to it gracefully, and in such a way as not to incur the 
personal ill-will of the third commissioner. I can well see how a wise 
Secretary, like Mr. Fish, might in the end have been thus influenced, after 
having exhausted every effort, as he so ably and fearlessly did, to keep 
M. Delfosse off the commission. 

I do uot intend in any remarks I am making to cast reflections on 
M. Delfosse, who is known as an honorable representative of his Government. 
I only mean to imply and to assert that, if Lord Ripon is to be credited, M. 
Delfosse was not in a position to be an impartial arbitrator; and that in my 
judgment, Great Britain never should have proposed him. Mr. Fish was 
therefore justified in resisting his appointment as long as resistance promised 
to be effectual. Nor do I mean to impute to Sir Edward Thornton any 
proceeding that was not strictly honorable. The highly esteemed representative 
of the British Government at this Capital in all he did was simply following 
the instructions of Lord Granville. But I do mean to say, if I am correctly 
informed, that the correspondence for which my resolution calls will disclose a 
designed and persistent effort on the part of the British Government to secure 
an advantage in the selection of the third commissioner on the question of the 
fisheries. It is but just to remark that the Dominion of Canada had no more 
rio-ht to interpose in the matter than had the States of Massachusetts and 
Maine; and that the Governors of those States had the same right to 
speak for their people in regard to selecting a third commissioner as 
had Lord Dufferiu to speak for the people of the Dominion. The 
negotiation was between two great nations, and subordinate States and prov- 
inces had no right to dictate, or even to suggest, unless called upon by the 
two principals. 

It may be somewhat premature to speak of the award made by the Halifax 
commission, but as it is already discussed in the press of both countries, a 
brief reference to it may not be out of place. The extraordinary nature of 
that award can only be appreciated when the surrounding facts are understood. 
In the original discussion of the fishery question by the joint high commis- 
sion in 1 87 1, the American commissioners could be induced to offer only one 
million dollars for all the fishing privileges subsequently embodied in the treaty. 
The British commissioners declined this offer, and would enter into no negotia- 
tion that did not include the admission of the products of the Canadian fisheries 
into the American market free of duty. This concession, highly advantageous 
to Canada and highty injurious to our fisheries, was finally inserted in the 
treaty. It was further agreed to decide by arbitration what amount of additional 
compensation should be paid by us for the right to use the inshore fisheries 
of Nova Scotia for twelve years. The Halifax commission took the subject into 
consideration, and two commissioners (both in effect selected by Great Britain) 



286 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

determined that we should pay her five and a half millions of dollars in gold 
coin, or at the rate of nearly half a million dollars per annum. The duties on 
the products of Canadian fisheries imported into this country (all remitted by 
the treaty) would be almost another half million dollars per annum ; so that 
under this award we should be actually paying nearly a million of dollars per 
annum in gold coin for the privilege of inshore fishing on the coast of Nova Scotia, 
where the total catch by American fishermen, beyond what we had the right to take 
without this treaty, would not amount to much over three hundred thousand 
dollars per annum. In other words, we are paying to Great Britain a million 
of dollars per annum for the privilege of catching less than four hundred 
thousand dollars' worth of fish. Such is a mere outline of the facts of the case, 
and the injustice of the award is so palpable that it is difficult to treat it with 
the respect due to all subjects involving international relations. 

The question as to the binding force of the award is naturally and neces- 
sarily one of the gravest interest, not only on account of the large amount 
involved, but on account of the very peculiar circumstances under which the 
decision against us was reached. The award was signed onty by Sir Alexander 
Gait, the British commissioner, and by M. Delfosse. The American commis- 
sioner, Mr. Kellogg, refused to sign it, and affirmed his dissent in writing; 
declaring it to be his deliberate opinion that the advantages accruing to Great 
Britain under the treaty were greater than those conferred on the United States ; 
and he further declared that he deemed it his duty to state that it is questionable 
whether it is competent for the board to make an award under the treaty 
except with the unanimous consent of all the arbitrators. Mr. Dwight Foster, 
the agent of our Government, stated that he " had no instructions as to what 
he should do under the circumstances, but he could not keep silent, and give 
ground for the inference that our Government would consider the award a 
valid one." I mention these facts to show that objections to the validity of the 
award were not the result of afterthought, but were incorporated as part of the 
proceedings before the arbitrators. 

The ground on which Mr. Kellogg questioned the competency of two of the 
arbitrators to make an award is that found in all the legal authorities on 
arbitration. The articles in the Treaty of Washington creating the Halifax 
board of arbitration gave no authority to a majority of the board to make an 
award, nor was the third commissioner empowered to act as umpire. Both in 
the tribunal at Geneva and in the Claims Commission at Washington, it was 
expressly stipulated that a majority of the arbitrators should decide. In the 
Halifax commission no such stipulation was made, and the inference therefore 
is strong, if not irresistible, that their award should be made according to the 
general law of arbitration. What the law is, upon English authority, may be 
briefly stated. 

Redman on " Arbitration and Awards," considered one of the highest 
authorities in England, says: 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 287 

"On a reference to several arbitrators with no provision that less than all 
shall make an award, each must act : and all must act together ; and every 
stage of the proceedings must be in the presence of all ; and the award must 
be signed by all at the same time." 

Francis Russell, another English authority of eminence, says : 

" On a reference to several arbitrators together, when there is no clause 
providing for an award made by less than all being valid, each of them must 
act personally in performance of the duties of his office, as if he were sole 
arbitrator ; for as the office is joint, if one refuse or omit to act, the others 
can make no valid award." 

Stewart Kyd, an earlier but not less authoritative writer, enforces the same 
doctrine. After alluding to the Roman law and to its permission for the 
rnajoritv of arbitrators to decide, Mr. Kyd makes the following statement: 

"In this respect the law of England is somewhat different; for unless it 
be expressly provided in the submission that a less number than all the arbi- 
trators named may make the award, the concurrence of all is necessary." 

If these eminent English authors are to be accepted, it is quite apparent 
that the Halifax award has no binding effect in law. As to the equity of the 
case, I have already given the undeniable facts that govern it. 

I am not now discussing, much less presuming to define, the action which 
our Government should ultimately take in regard to the award. If we should 
follow what I believe would be the inevitable course of Great Britain under 
similar circumstances, we should utterly refuse to pay a single penny, and ground 
our refusal both on the law and the equity of the case. The treaty as it 
stands is a mockery of justice, and will work the certain destruction of a great 
American interest. It is in fact nothing else than asking us to pay a million 
dollars per annum to Great Britain for destroying the entire fishing interest of 
America and still further crippling and weakening us as a commercial power. 
For the utter abrogation of the treaty I should be willing to pay the annual 
indemnity for the years we have used the inshore fisheries, during which years 
the Canadians have had free access to the markets of forty-five millions of people ; 
or I should be willing to pay double the award to be rid of the treat)'. We 
might by this course anticipate by a period of seven years a return to that policy 
which alone can insure the prosperity or even save the life of a great and 
important trade, indissolubly associated with our commercial development and 
absolutely essential to our success and prestige as a naval power. Paying thus 
even an unfair price for the inshore fisheries as long as we have used them, 
we remove all possible ground for imputation, even by the ignorant and the 
hostile, upon the honor of our Government and the good faith and fair dealing 
of our people. 

When we were poor and weak as a nation, we so highly esteemed the value 
of the fisheries that we encouraged their development by rewards and bounties. 
These were abandoned some years ago, but still we preserved to our fishermen 



288 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

a preference in our own markets. Even that is given away by the provisions 
of this treaty. By the Halifax award, if we accept it, and continue the treaty, 
we pay to Great Britain one million dollars per annum for destroying a school 
of commerce, which, properly nurtured, will be her great rival in the future. 
Against such a policy I enter my protest, if I stand alone. I believe that the 
products of American industry, on land and sea, should have the first and best 
chance in the American markets. I believe the American fisherman should be 
preferred by us to the Canadian fisherman. If we cannot pay him a bounty 
to encourage and sustain him, let us at least not pay a bounty to Great Britain 
to destroy him. 

Mr. Hamlin. Mr. President, I interpose no objection to the passage of 
this resolution, while on the other hand I think it wise and well that we shall 
have all the facts in relation to this matter before us. I agree entirely with 
my colleague, with the Senator from Massachusetts, and with the gentleman 
whose letter has been read at the table by the clerk, that we get no compen- 
sation for that award in any equivalent granted by the inshore fisheries along 
the coast of Nova Scotia. I have no hesitation in declaring that an equivalent 
in the receipt of the fish caught in the provinces in our market is far beyond 
anything which we receive in return under that treaty. There can be no doubt 
about it. And yet we are living to-day under a treaty negotiated here in this 
city ; and while it is the law of the land and a contract existing between the 
two high contracting parties, the honor of this Government demands that we 
maintain all the obligations that are imposed upon us. If it be true that we 
were overreached, or that in the selection of the arbitrator an improper person 
was taken, we must remember that he was finally taken by the assent of this 
Government; and when we come to the consideration of the subject it will be 
one which involves the honor of our Government, and one which I need not 
undertake to say will demand of us that we meet promptly and fully what 
shall be required. 

Mr. Blaine. I quite agree with my colleague upon that, and I think our 
merit will be all the greater if we pay an award of five and a half millions 
when we have proved to the world that we did not get anything for it. Pa}ang 
one's debt for full value received is considered a proper and upright course for 
upright men ; but paying a large sum for which we get nothing in return 
ought to be accounted to us for a good deal more of righteousness. 

[The correspondence between the two Governments was sent to the Senate 
on the twenty-sixth of March, and on moving that it be printed Mr. Blaine 
spoke as follows : ] 

Mr. President. I move that the correspondence between the American 
and British Governments in regard to the appointment of M. Delfosse on the 
Halifax commission be taken from the table and referred to the Committee on 
Foreign Affairs. I beg at the same time to call the attention of the Senate to 
the fact that the correspondence more than justifies all I said in regard to the 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 289 

very extraordinary efforts of Lord Granville to force M. Delfosse upon uor 
Government. I would particularly direct attention to the letter of Sir Edward 
Thornton, of August 19, 1873, and to Mr. Fish's reply on the twenty-first of 
the same month. 

When the resolution calling for this correspondence was before the Senate, 
I agreed with my honorable colleague, the chairman of the Committee on 
Foreign Affairs, that the award would be paid, not because it was just or was 
founded upon any fact or evidence submitted to the Halifax commission, but 
simply because it was an award which for honor's sake we might pay, though 
we got nothing for the large sum required. If the payment of five and a half 
millions were the end of the matter I should be willing to vote it in silence 
and bury the whole matter out of sight. But the truth is that this award is 
only the beginning of trouble. The period for which it pays will be ended in 
five years and then our privilege for inshore fishing must be negotiated afresh. 
It was well known at Halifax during the session of the commission that the 
Canadian authorities were striving not simply for the large sum in hand, but 
for the fixing of a rate by which to assess the price of the inshore fisheries in 
future. It is our duty to show that the rate fixed by the Halifax commission 
has no foundation whatever in truth or in fact, and that no evidence was before 
the commission to justify the award. I hold in my hand some statistics of very 
great interest bearing on the question, from which it appears that the total value 
of the catch in the inshore fisheries by American fishermen, during the four 
years the treaty has been in operation, was only four hundred and thirty -five 
thousand one hundred and seventy dollars, on which the profit was probably 
one hundred thousand dollars. This covers the entire catch for which we obtained 
the right under the treaty. During the same four years the duties on Canadian 
fish and oil remitted by our Government amounted to a million and a half of 
dollars in gold, and now under this treaty we are compelled to pay half a 
million per annum in addition, or two millions of dollars in gold coin for the 
four years. In other words, by remission of duties and the payment of cash from 
the Treasury our Government is called upon to pay three and a half millions 
of dollars in gold coin for the privilege of permitting our fishermen to make 
a profit of one hundred thousand dollars on the inshore fisheries of Nova Scotia. 

Considerable comment has been made in the country on the point suggested 
by me that the Washington treaty required the unanimous verdict of the Halifax 
commissioners before a legally valid award could be made. I quoted some 
eminent English authorities in support of this position. Since then a friend has 
shown me a copy of the London Times of July 6, 1877, containing an elaborate 
editorial article in regard to the fishery commission then about to assemble 
in Halifax. In discussing the powers of the commission, the Times said : 

" On every point that comes before the fishery commission for decision the 
unanimous consent of all its members is, by the terms of the treat}', necessary 
before an authoritative verdict can be given." 
19 



290 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

The Times then points out the difference between the Geneva tribunal and 
the Halifax commission, showing that a majority could decide at Geneva, but 
affirming that the United States would have a perfect right to demand unani- 
mity in the verdict at Halifax. 

It is also well known that the Halifax commission was discussed by the 
Canadian ministry in 1875, after the negotiations for a reciprocity treaty had 
failed. On that occasion Mr. Blake, the minister of justice, remarked that the 
" amount of compensation we shall receive must be an amount unanimously 
agreed upon by the commissioners.". I mention these facts to show that I 
spoke with full authority when I suggested that the verdict rendered at Hali- 
fax was not legally binding under the terms of the treaty. Its payment must 
be justified on other grounds, and I have already intimated more than once that 
considerations entirely outside of the legality or the justice of the award might 
constrain us to respect it. But it should never be paid without such protest as 
wall forever prevent its being quoted as a precedent or accepted as a standard 
to measure the value of the inshore fisheries in future negotiations." 

One of the prevailing sentiments of Mr. Blaine's political life was the 
notion of enlarging the influence of the United States and extending that influ- 
ence throughout the Western Hemisphere. This enlargement and extension had, 
in his theory, reference first of all to trade and commerce. It cannot be doubted 
that the purpose of Blaine to develop his country's interests in these particu- 
lars has proved salutary and that his policy will extend far into the twentieth 
century. Long before the transference of Blaine to the Senate we may note 
the outgivings of what has become his international policy. After the begin- 
ning of his senatorial career he began to develop this policy witli assiduity as 
well as success. By the middle of 1878 the question of an increase of trade 
with South America was on and the Senator from Maine took up the theme 
with interest and enthusiasm. 

In a memorable debate in the House of Commons, Mr. Macaulay reminded 
Daniel O'Connell, when he was moving for repeal, that the English Whigs 
had endured calumny, abuse, popular fury, loss of position, exclusion from Par- 
liament rather than that the great agitator himself should be less than a British 
subject; and Mr. Macaulay warned him that they would never suffer him to be 
more. Let me now remind you that the Government, under whose protecting 
flag we sit to-day, sacrificed myriads of lives and expended thousands of millions 
of treasure that our countrymen of the South should remain citizens of the 
United States, having equal personal rights and equal political privileges with all 
other citizens. I venture, now and here, to warn the men of the South, in the 
exact words of Macaulav, that we will never suffer them to be more ! 

Now it was that the question of Chinese immigration loomed up big and ; 
dark upon the Western horizon. The shadow of it extended across the Missis- 
sippi Valley and to the Atlantic coast. The problem seemed to be burdened 
with paradoxes. Have not people of a foreign country a right to come to our ; 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 291 

shores and did not we ourselves or our aucestors come from over sea ? What 
is the theory of the American Republic ? Have we not declared ourselves to be 
a great democracy ? Does not every Fourth of July ring with the assertion that 
this is the asylum for the world? Can any one be American and deny to any 
other whomsoever the right to be American also ? This is one side of the 
question. 

But there is another side. Is not this country intended to be preserved and 
maintained as a republican democracy ? Can we permit any influence, whether 
domestic or foreign, to sap our foundations and bear us away ? Even if we admit 
the principle of free immigration, is not immigration one thing and invasion 
another? Shall we permit ourselves to be invaded and overwhelmed this for 
the sake of our theory, that we are an asylum for the world ? Will it be possible 
for America, sixty millions strong, or, may be, a hundred millions strong, to open 
her Western gates to a paganism which is five hundred millions strong? If 
America is to be for the world, must she not be for Americans first and for other 
people afterwards ? Or, blankly, is it not overwhelming the dangers to free 
institutions and to the progress of civilization that an innumerable horde of 
oriental pagans shall be freely admitted to rush in to our republican domains 
and tinge our whole life with yellow and dirty yellow at that ? 

And the world knows Mr. Blaine's antagonism to the Chinese invasion of 
our country. No doubt he himself felt the paradox of the situation ; but the 
dilemma before him, he chose that horn which he thought least dangerous to 
his country and his countrymen. The question of free immigration was before 
the Senate in the year 1S79. On the fourteenth of February, in that year, 
Blaine addressed that body on the subject of " Chinese Immigration to the Pacific 
Slope." He said : 

Mr. President. In the remarks made yesterday by the honorable 
Senator from Ohio (Mr. Matthews) he intimated, if he did not directly assert, 
that the Government of the United States had solicited from the Chinese 
Empire the treat}' now under consideration. The statement is, I think, 
thoueh of course not so intended, the exact reverse of the historic fact. What 
is known as the Reed Treaty had given to the merchants of the United 
States, and to all who desired to trade in China, the facilities they desired. 
The Burlingame Treaty, involving other points, was certainly asked from the 
United States in the most impressive manner by a Chinese embassy. The 
eminent gentleman who had gone to China as our minister, had transferred 
his services to the Chinese Empire, and returning to us with great prestige at 
the head of a special embassy from China, with a great number of friends at 
home, was able to do what perhaps no other man then living could have done 
for China. He was often spoken of during his lifetime as merely a stump 
speaker. He has been ten years in his grave ; and I desire, now that his 
name is before us, to refer to him as a man of great address and great ability, 
a man who showed his power by the commanding position which he acquired 



292 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

iu the Chinese Empire, and by the influence which he exerted in his own 
country in its relations to China. 

This subject divides itself naturally into two parts, one of form and one 
of substance. The one of form is whether we may rightfully adopt this mode 
of terminating the treaty. The second and graver question is whether it is 
desirable to exclude Chinese immigration from this country. I noticed that 
the Senator from Ohio yesterday in discussing the first of these questions 
called the attention of the Senate to the gravity of the obligation which exists 
between the two countries, but he stopped reading at a very significant point. 
He read the following paragraph, or part of a paragraph, from the fifth article 
of the treaty : 

" The United States of America and the Emperor of China cordially recog- 
nize the inherent and inalienable right of man to change his home and allegi- 
ance, and also the mutual advantage of the free migration and emigration of 
their citizens and subjects, respectively, from the one country to the other, for 
purposes of curiosity, of trade, or as permanent residents." 

Here the honorable Senator from Ohio stopped, and it was well for his 
argument that he did, for, directly after the words that he read are the 
following : 

" The high contracting parties, therefore, join in reprobating any other than 
an entirely voluntary emigration for these purposes. They consequently agree 
to pass laws making it a penal offence for a citizen of the United States or 
Chinese subjects to take Chinese subjects either to the United States or to any 
other foreign country, or for a Chinese subject or citizen of the United States 
to take citizens of the United States to China or to any other foreign country 
without their free and voluntary consent respectively." 

I maintain that the latter clause of the treaty has been persistently vio- 
lated by China from the hour it was made. In the sense in which we receive 
immigration from Europe not one Chinese immigrant has ever come to these 
shores. The qualifying words were understood at the time to have been penned! 
by Mr. Seward. They are worth repeating ; and as my honorable friend from 
Ohio did not read them yesterday, I will read them again in his hearing : 

" The high contracting parties, therefore, join in reprobating any other; 
than an entirely voluntary emigration for these purposes." 

The words are worth emphasizing; not merely "voluntary," it must bei 
"entirely voluntary," and then each nation is to make laws to secure this end. 
I am informed by those who are more familiar with this subject than I am, that no 
notice has been received at the State Department showing that China has ever! 
complied with that provision of the treaty requiring her to make laws regulatingj 
emigration. Still less has she attempted to enforce a law on the subject. 
The mere making of a law and not enforcing it would be no compliance with 
the treaty. The Chinese agree, in other words, to enforce the provision that! 
there should be nothing else than " voluntary " emigration, an " entirely 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 293 

voluntary " emigration. They have never done as the}- agreed, they have 
been absolutely faithless on that point. 

The treaty stands as broken and defied by China from the hour it was 
made to this time. Its terms have never been complied with. We have been 
compelled to legislate against it. We legislated against it in the coolie law. 
The Chinese were so flagrantly violating it that statutes of the United States 
were enacted to contravene the evil the Chinese were doing. The evil has gone 
on, probably not so grossly since these laws were passed as before, but in effect 
the same. The point which the Senator makes in regard to our Punic faith in 
attempting to break this treaty, is therefore answered by the fact that the 
treaty has been broken continuously by the other Power. 

The Senator from Ohio asked what we should do in a similar case if the 
other contracting party were Great Britain, or Germany, or France, or any power 
that was able to make war. I ask the honorable Senator what he would advise us 
to do if Great Britain, or France, or Germany, should locate six commercial com- 
panies in New York, whose business it should be to bring to this country the 
worst class and the lowest class of the population of these three kingdoms ? 
What would the honorable Senator from Ohio say to that ? or does he hesitate 
to declare what we should say to it ? 

Mr. Matthews. Does the Senator desire an answer? 

Mr. Blaine. Yes, if the Senator pleases. 

Mr. Matthews. Then, Mr. President, I would say this, that instead of 
inaugurating an arbitrary and ex parte act of legislation on our own part, 
giving our own construction to the treat}- and the conduct of the other party 
under it, I would, through the usual diplomatic representative of this country, 
make representations to that Government making complaints of the alleged breach 
of the treaty, and ask what answer could be made to that ; and only in the event, 
as a last resort, of a contumacious refusal to obey the plain requisitions of the 
treaty obligation, would I resort to a repudiation of our own obligations under it. 

Mr. Blaine. Ah ! I asked him what he would do in case the contracting 
parties had themselves broken the treatv and we were the victims of the breach. 
He answers me that he would take hat in hand and bow politely before them, 
and ask them if they would not behave better ! What are we to do as a 
measure of self-defence when they have broken it, and taken the initiative ? I 
say that this country and this Senate would not hesitate to call an}- European 
power to account. The argument the Senator meant to employ was that we 
were doing towards a helpless Power, not able to make war against us, that 
which we would not do if a cannon were pointed towards us by a strong power. 
Does the Senator doubt that if any one of these countries should locate six com- 
! mercial companies here to import the worst portion of their population and put 
it upon our shores (and you cannot find so bad a population in all Europe as 
! that of which I am speaking), that we would hesitate in our course towards the 
offendinof Power? 



294 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

In regard to this treaty, the Senator says we should give notice. It has 
been stated many times in the hearing of the Senate that nearly one year ago 
we called the attention of the Executive to this matter. Certainly it must be 
the presumption of Congress that the President did his duty in the premises. 
It is not for any Senator here to speak of what he has done or what he has not 
done. The presumption is that all departments have done their duty ; and the 
plain duty of the Executive was to bring this resolution by way of notice to 
the attention of the Chinese Government. There is another feature to which I 
beg the honorable Senator from Ohio to direct his attention. I hold in my hand 
a book which contains all the treaties which have been made by the United 
States with foreign Powers from the organization of the Government to the year 
1873. The treaties are about two hundred and thirty in number, I think; 
about one-half of them with European Powers, the remainder with South Ameri- 
can, Central American, Mexican, Asiatic and African countries. I believe I 
could say, although I am a little modest about universal affirmations, I believe 
it is almost true as a universal affirmation, that you cannot find, with the 
exception of the Burlingame Treat}-, any one in that whole list relating to a 
commercial connection, which does not either terminate itself by a certain date 
or provide the mode of its termination. Almost all of them have a given date 
upon which they expire. Some of them have a time within which either party 
may give notice, but there is a clause in almost every one of them providing 
that by a certain process either country may free itself from the obligations 
that it assumed. The Burlingame Treaty is peculiar ; it relates to a commercial 
and personal connection of trade and of emigration, but it does not say that it 
shall last ten years or twenty years, or any other period ; it is interminable in 
its provisions ; it does not provide that we shall give notice in a certain way, 
or that China shall give notice in a certain way. There is no provision in the 
world by which it can be terminated unless one of the parties shall take the 
initiative, as is now proposed. 

It is, " I repeat," evident that one party or the other must take the initia- 
tive. The Senator from Ohio says he would go to the Emperor and make 
certain representations. Then I ask the honorable Senator Suppose the Emperor 
should refuse, what would he do ? Suppose the Emperor should say, " You 
have entered into a treat)' with my Government for all time ; its very terms 
show that there was to be no limit to it." I ask the honorable Senator froi: 
Ohio what he would then do ? Suppose we are unanimously of opinion her 
that the treaty ought not to continue, what would the honorable Senator do 
in case the Emperor should say, " I desire to stand by that treaty ? " What then ? 

Mr. Matthews. Does the Senator wish an answer? 

Mr. Blaine. Yes ; if it be agreeable to the honorable Senator from Ohio. 

Mr. Matthews. I should take it into consideration. (Laughter.) 

Mr. Blaine. That is a very exact and executive way of doing things. 
The honorable Senator would consider. That is just about as definite a point 



" 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 295 

as I supposed the Senator would come to. If the Senate unanimously determine 
that this treaty ought to be ended and we send an embassy, as he suggests, to 
the Emperor, and the Emperor says, "No; I think it ought not to be ended," 
the Senator says he would come back and sit down and take it into serious 
consideration. 

The learned Senator from Ohio, eminent in the law as he is known to be, 
read lis a lesson upon the great obligations that rest upon us as a nation of 
honorable people, as if, indeed, we were about to do something in the way of 
terminating a treaty that would give us a bad name and fame among the nations 
of the earth. 

In answer to the honorable Senator, without attempting to defend all that 
has been done by various nations in regard to the termination of treaties, let 
me say that it has been the usual habit, and is laid down in the very principia 
of the law of nations (which I need not quote), that when a people find a treat} 7 
" pernicious to the nation " the very words of Vattel they may terminate it. 
We took advantage of this French authority on a very memorable occasion. The 
treat)' which we made with France in 1778, a treat}' that was considered to be 
the origin of our strength in the Revolutionary war, contained this article : 

" Neither of the two parties shall conclude either truce or peace with Great 
Britain without the formal consent of the other, first obtained." 

The French afterwards said that the Americans, without giving them the 
slightest notice, " stealthily precipitated " a peace, and left them open either to war 
or negotiation ; and when we were accused of it, we quoted their own author and 
replied that this action was absolutely essential to the life of our young nation. 
We were compelled to do it, and we did it. Self-preservation is the first law of 
nations, as well as of nature, and we resorted to it. 

I proceed, Mr. President, to the second branch of my subject The Chinese 
question is not new in this body. We have had it here very often, and have 
had it here in important relations, and I wish to lay down this principle, that, 
so far as my vote is concerned, I will not admit a man by immigration to this 
country whom I am not willing to place on the basis of a citizen. Let me repeat 
that we ought not to permit in this country of universal suffrage the immigration 
of a great people, great in numbers, whom we ourselves declare to be utterly unfit 
for citizenship. 

What do we say on that point ? In the Senate of the United States, on 
the fourth day of July, 1870, a patriotic day, we were amending the naturaliza- 
tion laws. We had practically made all the negroes of the United States voters ; 
at least we had said they should not be deprived of suffrage by reason of race 
or color. We had admitted them all, and we then amended the naturalization 
laws so that the emigrant from Africa could become a citizen of the United 
States. Then Senator Trumbull moved to add : 

" Or person born in the Chinese Empire." 

He said : 



296 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

" I have offered this amendment so as to bring the distinct question before 
the Senate, whether the)' will vote to naturalize persons from Africa, and vote 
to refuse to naturalize those who come from China. I ask for the yeas and nays 
on niy amendment." 

The yeas and nays were as follows on the question of whether we would 
ever admit a Chinaman to become an American citizen. The yeas were: 

" Messrs. Fenton, Fowler, McDonald, Pomeroy, Rice, Robertson, Sprague, 
Sumner and Trumbull. 9." 

The nays were : 

" Messrs. Bayard, Boreman, Chandler, Conkling, Corbett, Cragin, Drake, 
Gilbert, Hamilton, of Maryland, Hamlin, Harlan, Howe, McCreery, Morrill, of 
Vermont, Morton, Nye, Osborn, Ramsey, Saulsbury, Sawyer, Scott, Stewart, 
Stockton, Thayer, Thurman, Tipton, Vickers, Warner, Willey, Williams and 
Wilson. 31." 

It will thus be seen that the vote was thirty-one against nine in a Senate 
three-fourths Republican, declaring that the Chinaman never ought to be made 
a citizen. I think this settles the whole question, if the position assumed by 
that vote was a correct one, because in our system of government, as it is to- 
day, you cannot, with safety to all, permit a large immigration of people who 
are not to be made citizens. The Senator from California (Mr. Sargent) tells 
us that already the male adult Chinese in California are as numerous as the 
white voters. I take him as an authority from his own State, as I should 
expect him to take my statement as authority about my own State. 

It seems to me that if we adopt, as a permanent policy, the free immigra- 
tion of those who, by overwhelming votes in both branches of Congress, must 
forever remain political and social pariahs in a great free Government, we have 
introduced an element that we cannot control. We cannot stop where we 
are. We are compelled to do one of two things either exclude the immi- 
gration of Chinese, or if we admit them, include them in the great family of 
citizens. 

The argument is often put forward that there is no special danger that 
large numbers of Chinese will come here ; that it is not a practical question '> 
and as the honorable Senator from Ohio is free to answer, I ask him if the 
number should mount up into the millions, what would be his view ? 

Mr. Matthews. The Senator seems to expect a reply to his inquiry. I 
would say that when there was a reasonable apprehension by the United States 
of the immigration mounting up to such numbers, theu I would take that into 
consideration. 

Mr. Blaine. Take that into consideration also ! The Senator is definite ! 
If the Chinese should amount to millions in the population of the Pacific slope, 
he would begin to take it into consideration ! That is practical legislation ! 
That is legislating for an evil which is upon us to-day ! The Senator's states- 
manship is certainly of a considerate kind. 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 297 

A word now about the question of numbers. Did it ever occur to my 
honorable friend from Ohio that the large numbers, the incalculable hordes in 
China, are much nearer to the Pacific coast of the United States, in point of 
money and transit, in point of expense of reaching it, than the people of Kansas ? 
A man in Shanghai or Hong Kong can be delivered at San Francisco more 
cheaply than a man in Omaha. I do not speak of the Atlantic coast, where 
the population is still more remote ; but you may take the Mississippi Valley, 
Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, all the great commonwealths of that 
valley, and they are, in point of expense, farther off from the Pacific slope than 
the population of China and Japan. 

I am told by those who are familiar with the commercial affairs of the 
Pacific slope that a person can be sent from any of the great Chinese ports to 
San Francisco for about thirty dollars. I suppose in an emigrant train over the 
Pacific Railroad from Omaha, not to speak of the expense of reaching Omaha, but 
from that point alone, it would cost fifty dollars per head. So that in point of 
cheap transportation to California the Chinaman to-day has an advantage over 
an American laborer in any part' of the country, except in the case of those 
who are already on the Pacific coast. 

Ought we to exclude them ? The question lies in my mind thus : Either 
the Caucasian race will possess the Pacific slope or the Mongolian race will 
possess it. Give Mongolians the start to-day, with the keen thrust of necessity 
behind them, and with the ease of transportation and the inducement of higher 
wages before them, and it is entirely probable, if not demonstrable, that while 
we are filling up the other portions of the continent, they will occupy the great 
space of country between the Sierras and the Pacific coast. The Chinese are 
themselves to-day establishing steamship lines ; they are themselves to-day pro- 
viding the means of transportation;- and when gentlemen say that we admit from 
all other countries, where do you find the slightest parallel ? In a republic 
especially, in any government that maintains itself, the unit of order and of admin- 
istration is in the family. The emigrants that come to us from all portions of 
the British Isles, from Germany, from Norway, from Denmark, from France, from 
Spain, from Italy, come here with the idea of the family as much engraven on 
their minds and on their customs and habits as ours. The Asiatic cannot live 
with our population and make a homogeneous element. The idea of comparing 
European immigration with an immigration that has no regard to family, that 
does not recognize the relation of husband and wife, that does not observe the 
tie of parent and child, that does not feel in the slightest degree the humanizing 
and the ennobling influences of the hearthstone and the fireside ! When gentle- 
men talk loosely about emigration from European countries as contrasted with 
that, they certainly are forgetting history and forgetting themselves. 

My honorable colleague (Mr. Hamlin) and the Senator from Wisconsin 
(Mr. Howe) voted that the Chinaman ought not to be a citizen of this country, 
voted that he ought not to become a voter in this country. My honorable friend 



298 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

from Wisconsin now says, sotto voce, that he did not vote that the Chinaman 
never should be enfranchised ; but he is like the honorable Senator from Ohio ; 
he voted " no," and then proceeded to take the question " into consideration " 
leisurely, and he has been leisurely considering it for ten years. When the 
question was before us, whether the Chinaman should be a subject of naturali- 
zation, the Senator from Wisconsin said "no," and he said "no" at a time 
when he said the negro directly from Africa might come in and be naturalized. 
He said "no" at a time when every other immigrant from every portion of the 
habitable globe was the subject of naturalization. I think the Chinaman in 
California, if he is to be forced upon us in great numbers, would be safer as a 
voter, dangerous as that would be, than as a political pariah. 

Mr. Howe. Why not apply that remedy? 

Mr. Blaine. You do not remedy one evil by precipitating another evil. 
I wish to remove both. You only present me another evil. I am opposed to 
the Chinese coming here ; I am opposed to making them citizens ; I am 
opposed to making them voters. But the Senator from Wisconsin must 
contemplate the fact that with the ordinary immigration now going on, if the 
statistics given by the honorable Senator from California are correct, we shall 
soon have a large majority of the male adults of California non-voters ; and 
with the Republic organized as it is to-day, I do not believe that you can 
maintain a non-voting class in this country. Negro suffrage was a necessity. 
Abused as suffrage has been in the South, curtailed unfairly, it is still the 
shield and defence of that race ; and with all its imperfections and all its 
abuses and all its short-comings by reason of his own ignorance or by the 
tyranny of others, the suffrage of the negro has wrought out, or has pointed the 
way by which shall be wrought out, his personal liberty, his political salvation. 

I have talked with a great many gentlemen on the opposite side of this 
question, and I never yet have seen one who did not, like the honorable 
Senator from Ohio, desire to escape present responsibility, and take the subject 
into consideration when it came to the point of how far this immigration shall 
be permitted to go ? The honorable Senator declined to tell me where he 
would limit it. I have never yet found any one who would say that he 
would allow it to be illimitable. I have never yet found an advocate of 
Chinese immigration who was willing to name a point where he would fix it 
and restrain it. Is there any Senator on this floor and I ask to be answered 
if there is who will say that under the operation of the Burlingame Treaty, 
as it is now administered, he is willing that the Chinese should come in and 
occupy the three Pacific States to the exclusion of the whites ? I will repeat 
my question in another form: Should we be justified in sitting still here in 
the administration of this Government and permitting this treaty to remain in 
force and the immigration which it allows, to go forward until those three 
States of the Pacific side should be overridden by that population ? That is 
what I ask every Senator. 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 299 

Mr. Hamlin. If my colleague wants an answer, I will give him one for 
myself. I will come a little nearer my colleague than the Senator from Ohio ; 
I will take it into consideration now. I will meet every question as it shall 
arise, and I will state to my colleague how I would meet it when it shall 
arise. It has not arisen now. When the time shall come that I become 
satisfied that the population of China will overrun our country, and there 
shall be danger or imminent peril from that immigration, I will join with my 
colleague in abrogating all treaties with them ; not one single little paragraph 
of a treaty, while we ask them to maintain it in its integrity for all the 
commercial advantages that the treaty bestows upon us, and all the protection 
that that treaty gives us to the right of trial by jury under our own laws. I 
will not meet it by an attempt to abrogate a treaty upon a little point, while 
we are the beneficiaries in the great and substantial points. I am indifferent 
to all the danger that shall come away down into the stillness of ages from 
the immigration of the Chinese. Treat them, I will not say like pagans, 
because Confucius would shame us if we go to his counsel treat them like 
Christians, and they will become good American citizens. (Applause in the 
galleries.) 

Mr. Blaine. But my colleague voted that they should not become Ameri- 
can citizens. 

Mr. Hamlin. I do not want to interrupt my colleague, but I will state 
before the debate shall close the reasons which were satisfactory to my mind 
for my vote then, and I am half inclined to believe that I will so state them that 
my colleague himself will see that I then voted right. 

Mr. Blaine. I would have voted with my colleague on that question, as I 
have already stated. 

Mr. Sargent. Will the Senator from Maine (Mr. Blaine) allow me to 
justify a statement he has made? I will take but a moment. I understood his 
colleague (Mr. Hamlin) to say that the average importation of Chinese during 
the last twenty years had been four thousand a year. 

Mr. Hamlin. Between four and five thousand. I think it is utterly im- 
possible to state with precise accuracy what is the number of Chinese in this 
country at this time. I think, however, it can be approximated very closely. 
The vSenator from California has stated the basis of his conclusions. Now I 
will give from the Alta California Almanac, published in San Francisco, the 
calculation, and I will read it to the Senate. It may be they have made an 
under-estimate, but they would not be very likely to do it in that com- 
munity. 

Mr. Sargent. That paper is very strongly pro-Chinese, and the only one 
on the Pacific coast. 

Mr. Hamlin. The only one ! I think there are five in the city of San 
Francisco which favor the ' immigration of Chinese. I have two or three of 
them here. In thirty years, according to the official report, the gain in the 



300 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

arrivals over departures has been 130,863, or at the rate of 4,662 per annum. 
The deaths, according to the Alt a Almanac, page 43, number about 20 for every 
1000 per annum ; but taking the largest number given for arrivals, 233,000. 
and taking the official figure of returns, 93,000, and deaths of 20 in every 
1,000 per annum, and you have 128,000 deducted from the 233,000, leaving the 
number on this continent at the present time the enormous number of about 
100,000! The Alta Almanac further gives, on page 43, the number in Cali- 
fornia at 78,000, while I understand the official record of the Chinese themselves 
places the number in California at but 60,000. Now, I say to my colleague, it 
was upon that information that I said the arrivals beyond the departures 
had been between four and five thousand. 

Mr. Blaine. Still the wonder grows with me that if the aggregate immi- 
gration is so small and will remain so small, as my colleague states, he should 
still have thought and have voted that they ought not to be citizens, and 
could not be safely trusted with the elective franchise. All that my honorable 
colleague has said makes me wonder still more at that vote, although, as I 
state, I would have given the same vote with him , but I would have given it 
on entirely different considerations and with an entirely different view. I am 
sure, even if I repeat myself in so saying, that no gentleman can justify an 
indefinite immigration from China who is not willing to assume and justify all 
the responsibilities of making the immigrants citizens of the United States, 
because we cannot continue to expose the Pacific coast to that immigration 
with a non-voting class largely outnumbering the voting class. 

The Senator from Ohio (Mr. Matthews) made light of the race trouble. I 
supposed if there be any part of the world where a man would not make light 
of a race trouble it was the United States. I supposed if there were any people in 
the world that had a race trouble on hand it was the American people. I sup- 
posed if the admonitions of our own history were anything to us, we should 
regard the race trouble as the one thing to be dreaded, the one thing to be 
avoided. We are not through with it yet. It has cost us a great many lives; 
it has cost us a great many millions of treasure. Does any man feel that we 
are safely through with it now ? Does any man here to-day assume that we 
have so entirely solved and settled all the troubles growing out of the negro 
race trouble that we are prepared to invite a similar one? If so, he learns a 
lesson from history which I have not been taught. If any gentleman, looking 
into the future of this country, sees, for certain sections of it at least, peace and 
good order and absolute freedom from any trouble growing out of race, he sees 
with more sanguine vision than mine. With this trouble already upon us, it 
woiild, in my judgment, be the last degree of recklessness deliberately to 
invite or permit another and possibly a far more serious one to be thrust upon us. 

Treat them like Christians, my colleague says ; aud yet I believe the 
Christian testimony from the Pacific coast is that the conversion of Chinese is 
largely a failure; that the demoralization of the white race is a much more 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 301 

rapid result of the contact than the conversion of the Chinese race, and that 
up to this time there has been little progress made in the one direction while 
much evil has been done in the other. I heard the honorable Senator from 
California, who sits on this side of the Chamber (Mr. Booth), say that there is 
not, as we understand it, in all the one hundred aud twenty thousand Chinese 
(whether I state the exact number does not matter in this point of view), there 
does not exist among the whole of them the relation of family. There is not 
a peasant's cottage inhabited by a Chinaman ; there is not a hearthstone, as 
it is found and cherished in an American home, or an English home, or a 
German home, or a French home. There is not a domestic fireside in that 
sense ; and yet you say that it is entirely safe to sit down and quietly permit 
that mode of life to be fastened upon our country. A half-century ago this 
question could not have been made a practical one. Means of communication, 
ease of access, cheapness of transportation, have changed the issue, and forced 
it upon our attention. I believe now that if the Congress of the United States 
should in effect confirm the treaty and the status of immigration as it now is, 
law and order could not be maintained in California without the interposition 
of the military five years hence. Do I overstate that ? 

Mr. Sargent. I am sorry to say that I think the Senator does not overstate it. 

Mr. Blaine. I do not justify the brutality of the treatment of those 
Chinese who are here. That is greatly to be regretted and greatly to be con- 
demned. But you must deal with things as you find them. If you foresee a 
conflict upon that coast by reason of an immigration that calls for the inter- 
position of the military, I think it is a great deal wiser and more direct way 
to avoid the trouble by preventing the immigration. 

I have heard much of late about their cheap labor. I do not myself believe 
in cheap labor. I do not believe cheap labor should be an object of legislation, and 
it cannot be in a republic. The wealthy classes in a republic where suffrage is 
universal cannot safely legislate for cheap labor. I repeat it. The wealthy classes 
in a republic where suffrage is universal must not legislate in favor of cheap labor. 
Labor should not be cheap, and it should not be dear; it should have its share, and 
it will have its share. There is not a laborer on the Pacific coast to-day I say 
that to my honorable colleague whose whole life has been consistent and uniform 
in defence and advocacy of the interests of the laboring classes there is not a 
laboring man on the Pacific coast to-day who does not feel wounded and grieved 
by the competition that comes from this immigration. Then the answer is, 
" But are not American laborers equal to Chinese laborers ? " I answer that 
question by asking another. Were not free white American laborers equal to 
African slaves in the South ? When you tell me that the Chinaman driving 
out the free American laborer only proves the superiority of the Chinaman, I 
ask you if the African slave driving out the free white labor from the South 
proved the superiority of slave labor ? The conditions are not unlike : the 
parallel is not complete, and vet it is a parallel. 



302 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

Chinese labor is servile labor. It is not free labor sneh as we intend to 
develop and encourage and build np in this country. It is labor that comes 
here under a mortgage. It is labor that comes here to subsist on what the 
American laborer cannot subsist on. You cannot work a man who must have 
beef and bread, and would like beer, in competition with a man who can live 
on rice. In all such conflicts and in all such struggles the result is not to 
bring up the man who lives on rice to the beef and bread standard, but it is 
to bring down the man living on beef and bread to the rice standard. Slave 
labor degraded free labor. It took out its respectabilitv ; it put an odious caste 
upon it. It throttled the prosperity of one of the fairest portions of the Union ; 
and a worse than slave labor will throttle and impair the prosperity of a still 
finer and fairer section of the Union. We can choose here to-day whether our 
legislation shall be in the interest of the American free laborer or in favor of 
the servile laborer from China. 

I rose, Mr. President, to speak brieflv. I have had many interruptions or 
I should long since have taken my seat. In conclusion I maintain that the legis- 
lation now proposed is in strictest accord with international obligation on these 
two grounds : First, we have given notice ; and second, the Chinese Empire has 
persistently violated the treaty. Whether you take it on the one ground or the 
other, we are entirely justified in adopting the pending measure. The Chinese 
have never lived for one year or even one month by the terms of the treatv. 
A treaty, I repeat, which is interminable so far as its own language is involved, 
must be terminated if either party desires its termination, by just such action as 
this bill proposes. 

The question of form being disposed of, the question of substance is 
whether, on full consideration, we shall devote that interesting and important 
section of the United States which borders on the Peaceful Sea to be the home 
and the refuge of our own people and our own blood, or whether we shall leave 
it open, not to the competition of other nations like ourselves, but to those who, 
degraded themselves, will inevitably degrade us. We have this day to choose 
whether we shall have for the Pacific coast the civilization of Christ or the 
civilization of Confucius." 

The debate on Chinese exclusion grew hot. The discussion took the form 
of anger. The country heard it and the pulpit resounded it. The echo of it 
was heard on every platform. Senator Eustis, of Louisiana, replied to the speech 
of Blaine and the latter in turn on the next day answered in a second address 
on " Chinese Immigration," as follows : 

Mr. President. I have heard nothing in the debate I believe I have 
listened to all of it that could possibly give the honorable Senator from Louisiana 
a justification for saying that there was any defence made of outrages perpetrated 
in California against the Chinese who are already there. I think the human 
race on all continents would join in execrating any cruelty or injustice towards 
those foreigners who are in California in pursuance of treaty stipulations, and 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 303 

who are entitled to the protection of the law. Nor can the Senator adduce from 
anything that I said, nor do I think he can adduce from what any other 
Senator has said, a shadow of plea in behalf of extending lenity towards those in 
the South who abuse the colored race. The Senator from Louisiana forgets a 
great distinction in the matter. The colored race in Louisiana are differently 
related to us from the Chinese who have not yet left China. I beg the honorable 
Senator to observe that this legislation is aimed at the Chinese who have not 
yet left China. I beg him further to observe that the great majority of the 
colored race in Louisiana had rights there when his own honored ancestry 
were still living in New England. The problem is wholly different. If 
birth, if nativity, if long settlement, if domicile, give any rights so far as 
Louisiana is concerned, the Senator himself is but a carpet-bagger of the second 
generation, as compared with the negroes, who have been in Louisiana for 
eight generations. 

I do not den}' that a race trouble springs from the situation and surroundings 
of the negro. I spoke of it freely yesterday. There is a trouble, but that trouble 
is not to be healed by the remedy which I understand the honorable Senator 
from Louisiana to advocate, viz : that national authority and the national pro- 
tection shall be withdrawn, and that the negroes shall be given up to the 
government of what the Senator from Louisiana calls the superior race. But I 
think the Senator errs in speaking of the Anglo-Saxon as specially in conflict 
with the negro in Louisiana. He is better versed in the history of Louisiana 
than I, but I have heard that a vast deal of the trouble in Louisiana comes, not 
from the Anglo-Saxon race, but from descendants of the Latin race ; and when 
he speaks of the Anglo-Saxon race, he probably applies the term to the race 
which, by numbers, has the least right to dominate in the State of Louisiana. 

Do not let us confuse the issue. Let me admit the honorable Senator's 
argument to its full extent. Let me admit the race trouble of the South as 
strongly as he will paint it, and then I ask, with that before onr eyes and 
imprinted on our history, to be dealt with in a future generation, whether 
we shall deliberately invite another race trouble of perhaps more serious 
character? Do not let the Senator from Louisiana confound all distinctions of 
iustice and all rules of logic, by telling us that a negro whose ancestors have 
been here for nine generations is to be treated by the laws of the United 
States in the same manner as a coolie who wants to ship to-day from 
Hong Kong to our coast on the Pacific. As a nation we owe nothing to the 
coolie. We owe much to the negro. I will here read a paragraph which can 
never be read too often : 

" Yet, if God wills that the war continue until all the wealth piled by 
the bondman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, 
and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid with another 
drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must 
be said, ' The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.' ' 



304 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

Nothing truer or more sublime in diction was ever pronounced from the 
days of the prophet Ezekiel to the death of Abraham Lincoln. 

I regret that I do not see the junior Senator from Massachusetts (Mr. 
Hoar) in his seat. When I was absent from the Senate last night, he made 
some remarks, from which I read the following : 

"The argument of the Senators from California, and of the junior Senator 
from Maine, and the Senator from Nevada, is the old argument of the slave- 
holder and the tyrant over and over again with which the ears of the 
American people have been deafened, and which they have overthrown." 

I think here is another confounding of distinctions. I thought I was 
arguing for free labor against servile labor. The trouble in the South, in the 
era of slavery, was an unequal and unfair partition of land. There were vast 
estates on which the slaves worked ; and yet in all the opulence of the 
wealthiest days of slaver}-, the largest plantations paled before the magnificent 
dukedoms of California on which coolies are imported to labor. When the 
Senator from Massachusetts says that I am using the language of the slave- 
holder, he is arguing in favor of these grants of ten, twenty, forty, sixty, 
seventy, eighty, one hundred thousand acres, larger than some of the German 
principalities, wrought and cultivated by coolie labor labor contracted for 
before the consul signs the certificate at Hong Kong and delivered at San 
Francisco according to order from the deck of the steamer. Does he wish to 
place American free labor against that which is mere slave labor ? It is a 
slight confounding of distinctions which the honorable Senator from Massa- 
chusetts has made. That is all. I would say more if he were in his seat. 

My colleague (Mr. Hamlin) certainly will not think I mean anything 
except the utmost kindness to him when I refer to the votes that were given 
on this question, especially when I say again, as I said yesterday, that had I 
been here I should have voted with him. But in the record of the case, as 
read by the honorable Senator from Massachusetts, something was left out. 
Pending the discussion of the naturalization question, the white amendment 
did come up, just as my colleague states. At a later period of the same day, 
instead of merely striking the word " white " out of the naturalization laws, it 
came up in the form of an amendment to admit Africans to naturalization. 
For that, disembarrassed from all the considerations to which my colleague 
has referred, he voted. Then it was that Senator Trumbull moved to include 
" or persons born in the Chinese Empire." On that question the vote was 
given of which I spoke yesterday. So that the question came just as palpably 
and as directly as it could come before the Senate, whether or not we should 
admit the Chinaman to citizenship in the United States. I repeat, perhaps I 
re-repeat, that the effect of that vote must be regarded as a settlement against 
Chinese immigration to this country, on the simple ground that in a 
republic where suffrage is universal we cannot permit a large immigration ! 
of people who are to be forbidden the elective franchise. 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 305 

I must not forget that my honorable colleague also referred to the fact, in 
speaking of this question as one of competition in labor, that the same competi- 
tion was made in labor-saving machinery. I beg to differ from him, for the 
history of labor-saving machinery from the beginning, and especially under the 
magnificent progress which has been made since the steam engine was invented, 
has been continually to advance the rank, dignity, and emolument of labor. The 
price of free labor and the pay for it has risen steadily in the world according 
to the development of the mechanical and scientific arts, by reason of the simple 
fact that if by an invention you decrease the number of laborers in one field, 
3'ou increase the want and require the development of labor in another field. I 
point to an unbroken history of two and a half centuries, in which the most 
splendid development of the inventive talent of any age has been accompanied 
step by step with a steady advance in the wages of the laborer. I also point 
to the fact that nowhere on earth has free labor been brought in competition 
with any form of servile labor, in which the free labor did not come down 
to the level of the servile labor. It has been tried against the African slave 
in the South ; it has been tried against the peons in Mexico and Peru ; 
it has been tried against the Chinaman in California ; the universal result 
is the same. The lower strata pull down the upper. The upper never elevate 
the lower." 

In the foregoing addresses of James G. Blaine it is easy to recognize several 
qualities of his genius and purpose. In the first place, the reader will not fail 
to discover in these speeches the breadth and lucidity of Blaine's understanding. 
His view of the subject is alwa3-s clear and comprehensive. The position which 
he takes on a given question may be controverted, but the clearness of his appre- 
hension and the perpetuity of his statement can never be doubted. In the next 
place we may note the largeness of the question with which he deals. From 
his 3'outh Blaine rose easily ; from the consideration of the local to the discus- 
sion of the general. He delighted in discovering the principles of large 
affairs. It was the national question rather than the State question which put 
his faculties into full play. From the national question he went on as if by 
momentum to the international. He was never so much at home as when con- 
sidering the relations of States and peoples. 

Still another quality of the Blaine genius had respect to innovation. He 
had the spirit of innovation of change. He took delight in altering and modi- 
fying the existing condition. If we mistake not this disposition cost him some- 
thing as a political leader. There were those who were wont to say that Blaine 
was a dangerous man, not to be trusted with the direction of vital concerns 
in statecraft This suspicion was based upon his readiness to innovate. The 
politician has a dread of innovation. He has learned that such policy is danger- 
ous to all except the strongest and most courageous leaders. Blaine aspired to 
such leadership. In doing so he followed the bent of his genius and stood ever 
on the edge of change. His diplomatical policies proved to be sufficient!}- con- 



306 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



servative to meet the demands of an enlightened State, bnt he was not on the 
whole well pleasing to conservatives and reactionists. 

Still again we may note the brilliancy of Blaine as a political orator. We 
must deny to him the weight of Webster and the coruscation of Clay. Blaine 
has been often compared to the last named statesman, and the comparison is 
by no means disastrous to the late Secretary of State. Blaine was not inferior 
to Clay in many things, and in most he was superior. Blaine will leave more 
on record than Clay did. The relics of his life and work are more extensive 
and important than are those of his great archetype. In personal magnetism 
in that vital leadership which comes of great individuality he does not suffer 
when compared with the great Commoner. These comments upon Blaine and 
the analogies which his life suggests to the lives of other public men might 
be greatly extended, but the limits of the chapter have already been reached 
and we pass on in the next to the illustration of his genius as the same is 
displayed in his diplomatical writings. 




&s- 



CHAPTER XIV. 



INTERNATIONAL SPIRIT AND DIPLOMACY FIRST PERIOD. 

;HE largest aspect of trie life of James G. Blaine is that 
which includes his international ambitions and general 
diplomacy. His mind was essentially diplomatical. 
Mr. Blaine was a Nationalist, by which we mean that 
he was profoundly concerned with national affairs, but 
the principle of enlargement was prevalent with him 
to the extent of carrying his thought and imagination 
beyond the pale of nationality. He was an Inter- 
nationalist, and this must be understood in order to 
appreciate his genius. 

We may pause to remark upon the fact, that in recent 
times statesmanship is looking confidently to Internationally 
as the summation of things. Not one nation but many nations 
must be considered. Just as there is Cosmopolitanism in 
society, so in the political life there is Internationalism. 
Perhaps the nations will never be one nation. May be they 
will never be a confederation of nations. But certainly civili- 
zation will insist on binding them with ever-increasing and 
ever-multiplying ties. 

To this tendency Mr. Blaine gave himself up more than 
any other American of our day. It is the key of his diplomacy 
and the secret of his political life in the larger sense. The 
evidence of such a spirit is found in all of his principal orations, and particu- 
larly in his diplomatical papers. With this spirit, nothing in the Blaine life 
is ever inconsistent. He persists in returning to the central idea, in developing 
it and applying it to existing conditions, and even in creating new conditions 
where he may apply it. 

It will be our purpose in the current chapter to develop and illustrate 
the fundamental policies and purposes of Mr. Blaine by means of copious cita- 
tions from his State papers. With the opening of the Garfield administration 
the Secretary of State entered boldly, but yet with caution, upon that theory 
which he so cordially entertained respecting the other nations of the Western 
Hemisphere and the various States of Europe. We have already once and 
again called the reader's attention to the predominant ideas under the dominion 
of which Mr. Blaine performed his duties in the high office to which he was 
twice appointed. That policy was, in brief, to autonomize and make complete the 
Republics of the three Americas under the leadership of the United States. At 

(307) 




80S LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

the same time, it was the policy of warding off from our shores the influence of 
Europe and of European institutions. In the latter clause of the policy there 
was an exception relative to Ireland and the Irish cause. That distracted 
country and people were to be included with the sympathies, almost taken into 
the councils of the American Republic. We shall here begin the illustration 
and quotations from the State papers of Mr. Blaine by the insertion of an 
official dispatch to James Russell Lowell, minister of the United States at the 
Court of St. James, and, indeed, by repetition, to nearly all our foreign repre- 
sentatives. The paper in question bears date of June 24, 188 r. It was the last 
of the important papers which the Secretary of State composed before the assassi- 
nation of Garfield. It covers the whole subject of the Clayton-Bulwer treaty, 
and discusses at some length the subject of interoceanic canals. The commu- 
nication is as follows : 

CLAYTON-BULWER TREATY AND INTEROCEANIC CANALS. 

Department of State, Washington, June 24, 1881. 

Sir It has come under the observation of the President, through the 
current statements of the European press and other usual modes of communi- 
cation, that the great Powers of Europe may be considering the subject of 
jointly guaranteeing the neutrality of the interoceanic canal now projected 
across the Isthmus of Panama. 

The United States recognizes a proper guarantee of neutrality as essential 
to the construction and successful operation of any highway across the Isthmus 
of Panama, and in the last generation every step deemed requisite in the premises 
was taken by this Government. The necessity was foreseen and abundantly 
provided for, long in advance of any possible call for the actual exercise of power. 

In 1S46 a memorable and important treaty was negotiated and signed be- 
tween the United States of America and the Republic of New Granada, now 
the United States of Colombia. By the thirty-fifth article of that treaty, the 
United States, in exchange for certain concessions, guaranteed " positively and 
efficaciously " the perfect neutrality of the Isthmus and of any interoceanic 
communications that might be constructed upon or over it for the maintenance 
of free transit from sea to sea ; and also guaranteed the rights of sovereignty 
and property of the United States of Colombia over the territory of the 
Isthmus as included within the borders of the State of Panama. 

In the judgment of the President this guarantee, given by the United 
States of America, does not require re-enforcement, or accession, or assent from 
any other Power. In more than one instance this Government has been called 
upon to vindicate the neutrality thus guaranteed, and no contingency is now 
foreseen or apprehended in which such vindication would not be within the 
power of this nation. 

There has never been the slightest doubt on the part of this Government 
as to the purpose or extent of the obligation then assumed, by which the 



310 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



United States became surety alike for the free transit of the world's commerce 
over whatever land-way or water-way might be opened from sea to sea, and for 
the protection of the territorial rights of Colombia from aggression or interfer- 
ence of any kind. Nor has there ever been room to question the full extent 
of the advantages and benefits, naturally due to its geographical position and 
political relations on the Western Continent, which the United States obtained 
from the owner of the Isthmian territory in exchange for that far-reaching and 
responsible guarantee. 

If the foreshadowed action of the European Powers should assume tangible 
shape, it would be well for you to bring to the notice of Lord Granville the 
provisions of the treaty of 1846, and especially of its thirty-fifth article, and to 
intimate to him that any movement, with the view of supplementing the guar- 
antee contained therein, would necessarily be regarded by this Government as 
an uncalled-for intrusion into a field where the local and general interests of 
the United States of America must be considered before the interests of any 
other Power save those of the United States of Colombia alone. That Republic 
has already derived and will continue to derive eminent advantages from the 
guarantee of this Government. 

The President deems it due to frankness to be still more explicit on this 
subject, and to elucidate the views of the United States Government with some 
what of detail to the end that no uncertainty shall subsist as to the integrity 
of our motives or the distinctness of our aims. 

It is not the wish or the purpose of the United States to interfere with 
any commercial enterprise in which the citizens or subjects of any foreign 
power may see fit to embark, under a lawful privilege. The fact that the 
stock and franchises of the Panama Canal or the Panama Railway are owned 
in Europe, either in whole or principally, is no more a subject of complaint 
on the part of the United States than is the circumstance that the stock of 
many of its own lines of railway is largely held abroad. Such ownership, 
with its attendant rights, is in the United States amply secured by the laws 
of the land, and on the Isthmus is doubly secured by the local laws of Colom- 
bia, under the guarantee of the United States. 

In time of peace, the United States does not seek exclusive privileges for 
American ships in respect to precedence or tolls through an interoceanic canal any 
more than it has sought like privileges for American goods in transit over the 
Panama Railway, under the control of an American corporation. The extent of 
the privileges of American citizens and American ships is measurable under the 
treaty of 1846 by those of Colombian citizens and ships. It would be our earnest 
desire and expectation to see the world's peaceful commerce enjoy the same 
just, liberal and rational treatment. 

It is the political control of snch a canal, as distinguished from its merely 
administrative or commercial regulation, of which the President feels called upon 
to speak with directness and with emphasis. During any war to which the 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



311 



United States of America or the United States of Colombia might be a party, 
the passage of armed vessels of a hostile nation through the canal of Panama 
would be no more admissible than would the passage of the armed forces of a 
hostile nation over the railway lines joining the Atlantic and Pacific shores of 
the United States or of Colombia. The United States of America will insist 
upon her right to take all needful precautions against a possibility that the 
Isthmus transit shall be in any event used offensively against her interests upon 
the laud or upon the sea. 

The two Republics between which the guarantee of neutrality and possession 
exists present analogous conditions .with respect to their territorial extension. 
Each has a long line of coast on both oceans to protect as well as to improve. 
The possessions of the United States upon the Pacific coast are imperial in 
extent and of extraordinary growth. Even at their present stage of development 
they would supply the larger part of the traffic which would seek the advantages 
of the canal. The 
States of California and 
Oregon, and the Terri- 
tory of Washington, 
larger in area than 
England and France, 
produce for export more 
than a ton of wheat 
for each inhabitant, and 
the entire freights de- 
manding water trans- 
portation eastward, 
already enormous, are 
augmenting each year IN cown -terminus panama ca:*ai,. 

with an accelerating ratio. While the population and products of the Pacific slope 
are thus increasing upon a vast scale, the railway system connecting the Gulf of 
Mexico with the interior and with the Great Lakes is rapidly extending, thus 
affording additional facilities for enlarging the commerce that must seek the 
coast-line to the Pacific, of which the projected canal at Panama will form a part, 
and be as truly a channel of communication between the Eastern and far 
Western States as our own transcontinental railways. It is the perception of 
this domestic function of the long-sought water-way between the two seas that 
border the Republic which has caused the project to be regarded as of vital import- 
ance by this Government. The history of the enterprise is marked from the outset 
by the numerous expeditions which have, from time to time, been sent out by the 
United States at large expense to explore the various routes, and thus facilitate 
the work when the time should be ripe and the capital provided for the undertaking. 

If the proposed canal were a channel of communication near to the countries 
of the Old World, and employed wholly, or almost wholly, by their commerce, 




312 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



i 



it might very properly be urged that the influence of the European powers 
should be commensurate with their interests. With the exercise of* such influence, 
the United States could find no fault, especially if assured of equal participation 
in the peaceable enjoyment of the commercial facilities so afforded. The case, 
however, is here reversed, and an agreement between the European States jointly 
to guarantee the neutrality and in effect control the political character of a 
highway of commerce, remote from them and near to us, forming substantially 
a part of our commercial coast-line and promising to become the chief means 
of transportation between our Atlantic and Pacific States, would be viewed by 
this Government with the gravest concern.. 

The policy of the United States is one of peace and friendly intercourse 
with every Government and people. This disposition is not only avowed, but 
is abundantly shown in the fact that our armaments by land and sea are kept 
within such limits as to afford no ground for distrust or suspicion of menace 

to other nations. The 
guarantee entered into 
by this Government in 
1846 was manifestly in 
the interest of peace, and 
the necessity imposed by 
circumstances upon the 
United States of America 
to watch over a highway 
between its two coasts 
was so imperative that 
the resultant guarantee 
was the simplest justice 
to the chief interests con- 
cerned. Any attempt to supersede that guarantee by an agreement between 
European Powers, which maintain strong armies and patrol the sea with large 
fleets, and whose interest in the canal and its operation can never be so vital 
and supreme as ours, would partake of the nature of an alliance against the 
United States and would be regarded by this Government as an indication of 
unfriendly feeling. It would be but an inadequate response to the good will we 
bear them and to our cheerful and constant recognition of their own rights of 
domestic policy, as well as those resulting from proximity or springing from 
neighborly interest. 

The European Powers have repeatedly united in guarantees of neutrality 
touching the political- condition of such States as Luxembourg, Belgium, Switzer- 
land and parts of the Orient, where the localities were adjacent or where the 
interests involved concerned them nearly and deeply. Recognizing these facts, the 
Government of the United States has never offered to take part in such agree- 
ments or to make any agreements supplementary to them. 




'. %$So 



MATACHIN EXCAVATOR AT WORK. 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 313 

While thus observing the strictest neutrality with respect to complications 
abroad, it is the long-settled conviction of this Government that any extension 
to our shores of the political system by which the great Powers have controlled 
and determined events in Europe would be attended with danger to the peace 
and welfare of this nation. 

While the Government of the United States has no intention of initiating 
any discussion upon this subject, it is proper that you should be prepared, in 
case of concerted action or conference or exchange of opinions thereon between 
the great Powers of Europe, to communicate to the Government to which you 
are accredited the views of the President as frankly and as fully as they are 
herein set forth. At suitable times in your personal and friendly intercourse 
with your colleagues of the diplomatic body at London, you may find it proper 
to give discreet expression to the policy and motives of your Government in 
the premises. 

You will be careful, in any conversations you may have, not to represent 
the position of the United States as the development of a new policy or the 
beginning of any aggressive measures. It is nothing more than the pronounced 
adherence of the United States to principles long since enunciated by the 
highest authority of the Government, and now, in the judgment of the President, 
firmly inwoven as an integral and important part of our national policy. 

In his address upon taking the oath of office, the President distinctly 
proclaimed the position which the Government of the United States would hold 
upon this question, and if the European cabinets have failed to observe or give 
due heed to the declarations then made, it may be well for you on some proper 
occasion to call the attention of the minister of foreign affairs to the language 
used by the President." 

This paper was followed eight days afterwards by the shooting down of 
the President. Events went on with a whirl. Garfield died and a new party came 
into power with Arthur. The acting president, however, did not pursue radical 
changes either in the personnel of his administration or in his general policy. 
Gradually he turned the course pf the ship, but prudently did nothing with 
violent action. Blaine, continuing as Secretary of State, was permitted, at least 
for a season, to follow his own course. On the nineteenth of November, 1S81, he 
took up the subject of the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty, and continued the diplomacy of 
the question in the following letter to Mr. Lowell and other American ministers 
abroad : 

THE CLAYTON-BULWER CONTROVERSY Contained. 

Department of State, Washington, November 19, 1881. 

Sir In pursuance of the premises laid down in my circular note of June 

24, of this year, touching the determination of this Government with respect 

to the guarantee of neutrality for the interoceanic canal of Panama, it becomes 

my duty to call your attention to the convention of April 19, 1850, between 



314 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



Great Britain and the United States, commonly known as the Clayton-Bulwer 
Treaty. 

According to the articles of that convention, the high contracting parties, 
in referring to an interoceanic canal through Nicaragua, agreed : 

"That neither the one nor the other will ever obtain or maintain for itself 
any exclusive control over said ship canal, and that neither will ever erect or 
maintain any fortifications commanding the same or in the vicinity thereof." 

In a concluding paragraph the high contracting parties agreed : 

"To extend their protection by treaty stipulations to any other practicable 
communications, whether by canal or railway, across the Isthmus, . . . which 

are now proposed to be established by 
way of Tehuantepec or Panama." 

This convention was made more 
than thirty years ago, under excep- 
tional conditions which have long since 
ceased to exist conditions which at best 
were temporary in their nature, and 
which can never be reproduced. The 
remarkable development of the United 
States on the Pacific coast since that 
time has created new duties for this 
Government, and devolved new respon- 
sibilities upon it, the full and complete 
discharge of which requires, in the 
judgment of the President, some essen- 
tial modifications in the Clayton-Bulwer 
Treaty. The interests of Her Majesty's 
Government involved in this question, 
in so far as they may be properly 
judged by the observation of a friendly 
power, are so inconsiderable in com- 
parison with those of the United States 
that the President hopes a re-adjustment of the terms of the treaty may 
be reached in a spirit of amity and concord. 

The respect due to Her Majesty's Government demands that the objections 
to the perpetuity of the convention of 1S50, as it now exists, should be stated 
with directness and with entire frankness. Among the most salient of these 
objections is the fact that the operation of the treaty practically concedes to 
Great Britain the control of whatever canal may be constructed. The insular 
position of the home government, with its extended colonial possessions, requires 
the British Empire to maintain a vast naval establishment. In our continental 
solidity we do not need, and in time of peace shall never create, a rival to it. 




JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL. 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 3L5 

If, therefore, the United States binds itself not to fortify on land, it concedes 
that Great Britain, in the possible case of a struggle for the control of the 
canal, shall at the outset have an advantage which would prove decisive, and 
which could not be reversed, except by an enormous expenditure of treasure 
and force. The presumptive intention of the treaty was to place the two powers 
on a plane of perfect equality with respect to the canal ; but in practice, as I 
have indicated, this would prove utterly delusive, and would instead surrender 
it, if not in form, yet in effect, to the control of Great Britain. 

The treaty binds the United States not to use military force in any precau- 
tionary measure, while it leaves the naval power of Great Britain perfectly free 
and unrestrained ready at any moment of need to seize both ends of the canal, 
and render its military occupation on laud a matter entirely within the discre- 
tion of Her Majesty's Government. The military power of the United States, 
as shown by the recent civil war, is without limit, and in any conflict on the 
American continent altogether irresistible. The Clayton-Bulwer Treaty com- 
mands this Government not to use a single regiment of troops to protect its 
interests in connection with the interoceanic canal, but to surrender the transit 
to the guardianship and control of the British Navy. If no American soldier 
is to be quartered on the Isthmus to protect the rights of his country in the 
interoceanic canal, surely, by the fair logic of neutrality, no war-vessel of Great 
Britain should be permitted to appear in the waters that control either entrance 
to the canal. 

A more comprehensive objection to the treat}' is urged by this Government. 
Its provisions embody a misconception of the relative positions of Great Britain 
and the United States with respect to the interests of each in questions pertain- 
ing to this continent. The Government of the United States has no occasion 
to disavow an aggressive disposition. Its entire policy establishes its pacific 
character, and among its chief aims is to cultivate the most friendly and inti- 
mate relations with its neighbors, both independent and colonial. At the same 
time, this Government, with respect to European States, will not consent to 
perpetuate any treaty that impeaches our rightful and long-established claim to 
priority on the American continent. 

The United States seeks only to use for tire defence of its own interests 
the same forecast and provision which Her Maj esty's Government energetically 
employs in defence of the interests of the British Empire. To guard 
her Eastern possessions, to secure the most rapid transit for troops and 
munitions of war, and to prevent any other nation from having equal facilities 
in the same direction, Great Britain holds and fortifies all the strategic points 
that control the route to India. At Gibraltar, at Malta, at Cyprus, her fortifi- 
cations give her the mastery of the Mediterranean. She holds a controlling 
interest in the Suez Canal, and by her fortifications at Aden and on the Island 
of Perim, she excludes all other powers from the waters of the Red Sea and 
practically renders it mare clansiim. It would, in the judgment of the President, 



Sir, LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

be no more unreasonable for the United States to demand a share in these 
fortifications, or to demand their absolute neutralization, than for England to 
make the same demand in perpetuity from the United States with respect 
to the transit across the American continent. The possessions which Great 
Britain thus carefully guards in the East are not of more importance to her 
than is the Pacific slope, with its present development and assured growth, to 
the Government of the United States. 

The States and Territories appurtenant to the Pacific Ocean, and dependent 
upon it for commercial outlet, and hence directly interested in the canal, 
comprise an area of nearly eight hundred thousand square miles larger in 
extent than the German Empire and the four Latin countries of Europe 
combined. This vast region is but beginning its prosperous development. Six 
thousand miles of railway are already constructed within its limits, and it is a 
moderate calculation to say that within the current decade the number of miles 
will, at least, be doubled. In the near future the money value of its surplus 
for export will be as large as that of British India, and perhaps larger. Nor 
must it be forgotten that India is but a distant colony of Great Britain, while 
the region on the Pacific is an integral portion of our National Union, and is 
of the very form and body of our State. The inhabitants of India are alien 
from England in race, language and religion. The citizens of California, 
Oregon and Nevada, with the adjacent territories, are of our own blood and 
kindred bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. 

Great Britain appreciates the advantage and perhaps the necessity of 
maintaining, at the cost of large military and naval establishments, the interior 
and nearest route to India, while any nation with hostile intent is compelled to 
take the longer route and sail many thousand additional miles through danger- 
ous seas. It is hardly conceivable that the same great Power which considers 
herself justified in these precautions for the safety of a remote colon}- on 
another continent should object to the adoption by the United States of similar 
but far less demonstrative measures for the protection of the distant shores of 
her own domain, for the drawing together of the extremes of the Union in 
still closer bonds of interest and sympathy, and for holding to the simple end 
of honorable self-defence the absolute control of the great water-way which shall 
uuite the two oceans, and which the United States will always insist upon 
treating as part of her commercial coast line. 

If a hostile movement should at any time be made against the Pacific 
coast, threatening danger to its people and destruction to its property, the 
Government of the United States would feel that it had been unfaithful to its 
duty and neglectful towards its own citizens, in permitting itself to be bound 
by a treaty which gives the same right through the canal to a war-ship bent 
on an errand of destruction that is reserved to its own navy sailing for the 
defence of our coast and the protection of the lives of our people. As England 
insists, by the might of her power, that her enemies in war shall strike her 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 317 

Indian possessions only by doubling the Cape of Good Hope, the Government 
of the United States will in like manner insist that the interior, the safer and 
more speed}' route of the canal shall be reserved for ourselves, while our enemies, 
if we shall ever be so unfortunate as to have any, shall be remanded to the voyage 
around Cape Horn. 

A consideration of controlling influence in this question is the well-settled 
conviction on the part of this Government that only by the exercise of super- 
vision on the part of the United States can the Isthmus canals be definitely, 
and at all times, secured against the interference and obstruction incident to 
war. A mere agreement of neutrality on paper between the great Powers of 
Europe might prove ineffectual to preserve the canal in time of hostilities. 
The first sound of a cannon in a general European war would, in all proba- 
bility, annul the treaty of neutrality, and the strategic position of the canal, 
commanding both oceans, might be held by the first naval power that could 
seize it. If this should be done, the United States would suffer such grave 
inconvenience and loss in her domestic commerce as would enforce the duty 
of a defensive and protective war on her part, for the mere purpose of gaining 
that control, which, in advance, she insists is due to her position and demanded 
by her necessities. 

I am not arguing or assuming that a general war, or any war at all, is 
imminent in Europe. But it must not be forgotten that within the past twenty 
five years all the great Powers of Europe have been engaged in war most of 
them more than once. In only a single instance in the past hundred years 
has the United States exchanged a hostile shot with any European Power. It 
is in the highest degree improbable that for a hundred years to come even that 
experience will be repeated. 

It consequently becomes evident that the one conclusive mode of preserving 
any Isthmus canal from the possible distraction and destruction of war is to 
place it under the control of that Government least likely to be engaged in war, 
and able in any and in every event to enforce the guardianship which she will 
assume For protection of her own interest, therefore, the United States in the 
first instance asserts her right to control the Isthmus transit ; and, secondly, 
she offers by such control that absolute neutralization of the canal as respects 
European Powers which can in no other way be certainly attained and lastingly 
assured. 

Another consideration forcibly suggests the necessity of modifying the 
convention under discussion. At the time it was concluded Great Britain and 
the United States were the only nations prominent in the commerce of Central 
and South America. Since that time other leading nations have greatly enlarged 
their commercial connections with that country, and are to-day contending for 
supremacy in the trade of those shores ; within the past four years, indeed, the 
number of French and German vessels landing on the two coasts of Central 
America far exceeds the number of British vessels. 



318 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

While, therefore, Great Britain and the United States may agree to do 
nothing, and according to the present convention each remains bound to the 
other in common helplessness, a third power, or a fourth, or a combination of 
many, may intervene and give direction to the project which the Clayton-Bulwer 
Treaty assumed to be under the sole control of the two English-speaking 
nations. Indeed, so far as the canal scheme now projected at Panama finds a 
national sponsor or patron, it is in the Republic of France ; and the non-inter- 
vention enjoined upon this country- by the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty, if applied to 
that canal, would paralyze the United States in any- attempt to assert the plain 
rights and privileges which this Government acquired through a solemn treaty 
with the Republic of Colombia, anterior to the Clayton-Bulwer Convention. 
The modification of the treaty of 1850, now sought, is not only to free the 
United States from unequal and inequitable obligations to Great Britain, but 
also to empower this Government to treat with all other nations seeking a 
foothold on the Isthmus on the same basis of impartial justice and complete 
independence. 

One of the motives that originally induced this Government to assent to 
the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty, not distinctly expressed in the instrument, but 
inferable from every line of it, was the expected aid of British capital in the 
construction of the Nicaraguan Canal. That expectation has not been realized, 
and the changed condition of this country' since 1850 has diminished, if it has 
not entirely removed from consideration, any advantage to be derived from that 
source. 

Whenever, in the judgment of the United States Government, the time 
shall be auspicious and the conditions favorable for the construction of the 
Nicaraguan Canal, no aid will be needed outside of the resources of our own 
Government and people ; and while foreign capital will always be welcomed and 
never repelled, it cannot henceforth enter as an essential factor in the deter- 
mination of this problem. 

It is earnestly hoped by the President that the considerations now presented 
will have due weight and influence with Her Majesty's Government, and that 
the modifications of the treaty desired by the United States will be conceded in 
the same friendly spirit in which they are asked. The following is a summary 
of the adjustments which would meet the views of this Government: 

First Every part of the treaty which forbids the United States to fortify 
the canal and hold the political control of it in conjunction with the country 
in which it is located, to be canceled. 

Second Every part of the treaty in which Great Britain and the United States 
agree to make no acquisition of territory in Central America to remain in full 
force. As an original proposition this Government would not admit that Great 
Britain and the United States should be put on the same basis, even negatively, 
with respect to territorial acquisitions on the American Continent, and would 
be unwilling to establish such a precedent without full explanation. But the 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 319 

treaty contains that provision with respect to Central America, and if the 
United States should seek its annulment it might give rise to erroneous and 
mischievous apprehensions among a people with whom this Government desires 
to be on the most friendly terms. The United States has taken special occasions 
to assure the Spanish American Republics that we do not intend and do not 
desire to cross their borders or in any way disturb their territorial integrity. 
We shall not therefore willingly incur the risk of a misunderstanding by 
annulling the clauses in the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty which forbid such a step 
with respect to Central America. But the acquisition of military and naval 
stations necessary for the protection of the canal and voluntarily ceded to the 
United States by the Central American States is not to be regarded as a violation 
of the provision contained in the foregoing. 

Third The United States will not object to the clause looking to the 
establishment of a free port at each end of whatever canal may be constructed, 
if England desires the clause to be retained. 

Fourth The clause in which the two Governments agreed to make treaty 
stipulations for a joint protectorate of whatever railway or canal might be 
constructed at Tehuantepec or Panama has never been perfected. No treaty 
stipulations for the proposed end have been suggested by either party, although 
citizens of the United States long since constructed a railway at Panama, and 
are now engaged in the same work at Tehuantepec. It is a fair presumption, 
in the judgment of the President, that this provision should be regarded as 
obsolete bv the non-action and common consent of the two Governments. 

Fifth The clause defining the distance from either end of the canal where, 
in time of war, captures might be made by either belligerent on the high seas 
was left incomplete and the distance was never determined. In the judgment 
of the President, speaking in the interest of peaceful commerce, this distance 
should be made as liberal as possible, and might, with advantage, as a question 
relating to the high seas and common to all nations, be a matter of stipulation 
between the great Powers of the world. 

In assuming as a necessity the political control of whatever canal or canals 
may be constructed across the Isthmus, the United States will act in entire harmony 
with the Governments within whose territory the canals should be located. 
Between the United States and the other American Republics there can be no 
hostility, no jealous}', no rivalry, no distrust. This Government entertains no 
design in connection with this project for its own advantage which is not also 
for the equal or greater advantage of the country to be directly and immediately 
affected. Nor does the United States seek any exclusive or narrow commercial 
advantage. It frankly agrees, and will by public proclamation declare at the 
proper time in conjunction with the Republic on whose soil the canal may be 
located, that the same rights and privileges, the same tolls and obligations for 
the use of the canal, shall apply with absolute impartiality to the merchant 
marine of every nation on the globe. Equally, in time of peace, the harmless 



320 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



use of the canal shall be freely granted to the war-vessels of other nations. 
In time of war, aside from the defensive use to be made of it by the country 
in which it is constructed and by the United States, the canal shall be impartially 
closed against the war-vessels of all belligerents. It is the desire and the 
determination of the United States that the canal shall be used only for the 
development and increase of peaceful commerce among all the nations, and shall 
not be considered a strategic point in warfare to tempt the aggressions of 
belligerents, or be seized under the compulsions of military necessity by any 
of the great Powers that may have contests in which the United States has no 
stake, and will take no part. 

If it be asked why the United States objects to the assent of European Powers 
to the terms of neutrality for the operation of the canal, the answer of this 

Government is that the right to assent 
implies the right to .dissent, and thus 
the whole question would be thrown 
open for contention as an international 
issue. It is the fixed purpose of the 
United States to consider it strictly and 
solely as an American question, to be 
dealt with and decided by the American 
Powers. 

In presenting the views contained 
herein to Lord Granville, you will take 
occasion to say that the Government 
of the United States seeks this partic- 
ular time for the discussion as most 
opportune and auspicious. At no period 
since the peace of 17S3 have the rela- 
tions between the British and American 
Governments been so cordial and friendly as now. I am sure Her Majesty's 
Government will find in the views now suggested, and the propositions now 
submitted, additional evidence of the desire of this Government to remove all 
possible grounds of controversy between two nations, which have so many 
interests in common, and so many reasons for honorable and lasting peace. 

You will at the earliest opportunity acquaint Lord Granville with the purpose 
of the United States touching the Claytou-Bulwer Treaty and, in your own way, 
you will impress him fully with the views of your Government. I refrain from 
directing that a copy of this instruction be left with His Lordship, because, in 
reviewing the case, I have necessarily been compelled, in drawing illustrations 
from British policv, to indulge somewhat freely in the argumentum ad hominem, 
This course of reasoning, in an instruction to our own minister, is altogether 
legitimate and pertinent, and yet might seem discourteous if addressed directly 
to the British Government. You may deem it expedient to make this explanation 




LORD GRANVII.I.K. 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 321 

to Lord Granville, and if afterwards he shall desire a copy of this instruction, 
you will, of course, furnish it." 

It appears that the subject was not yet exhausted. After ten days, namely, 
on the twenty-ninth of November, 1881, the Secretary of State again took up 
the correspondence and sent to Minister Lowell, with copies to other American 
ministers abroad, the following additional letter : 

Department of State, Washington, Nov. 29, 1SS1. 

Sir: One week after mailing my instruction to you on the 19th instant 
touching the presentation to Her Majesty's Government of a proposal for the 
modification of the convention between the two countries, of April 19, 1S50, 
better known as the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty, I received Mr. Hoppin's dispatch of 
the nth instant, communicating the response of Lord Granville to my circular 
note of the twenty-fourth of June last in relation to the neutrality of any canal across 
the Isthmus of Panama. I regret that Mr. Hoppin should not have advised 
me by telegraph of the purport of His Lordship's reply as it would have enabled 
me to present the arguments of my dispatch of the 19th instant in a more 
specific form as meeting a positive issue rather than as generally dealing with 
a subject which for thirty years has been regarded in but one light by the 
public opinion of the United States. It seems proper now, however, in reply to 
His Lordship's note of November 10, to give a summary of the historical objections 
to the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty, and the very decided differences of opinion between 
the two Governments to which its interpretation has given rise. 

I need hardly point out to you the well-known circumstance that even at 
the time of the conclusion of the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty, a very considerable 
opposition was shown thereto on the part of far-sighted men in public life, who 
correctly estimated the complications which the uncertain terms of that compact 
might occasion. It was ably contended in Congress that its provisions did not, 
even then, suffice to meet the real points at issue with respect to the guarantee 
of the neutrality of the whole American Isthmus on bases comporting with the 
national interests of the United States, and the differences of interpretation soon 
became so marked as to warrant the extreme proposal of Her Majesty's 
Government to refer them to the arbitration of a friendly Power. 

The justice of those doubts became still more evident six years later, when 
the pretensions put forth by Her Majesty's Government toward territorial pro- 
tection, if not absolute control, of portions of Nicaragua and of the outlying Bay 
Islands brought up the precise question as to the extent to which the Clayton- 
Bulwer compact restrained the projected movement ; and thereupon the inter- 
pretations respectively put upon that instrument by the United States and Great 
Britain were perceived to be in open conflict. The attempt made in the 
Clarendon-Dallas Treaty, which was negotiated on the seventeenth of October, 
1856, to reconcile these opposing contentions, and to place the absolute and 
independent sovereignty of Nicaragua over its territory on an unmistakable 
21 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



footing, so far as the United States and Great Britain were concerned, failed by 
reason of the rejection by Her Majesty's Government of an amendment intro- 
duced by the Senate into the Clarendon-Dallas project. From that time onward 
the inability of the two Governments to agree upon a common interpretation of 
the letter and spirit of the Clayton-Bnlwer Treaty may be accepted as an 
historical fact. 

In the discussions between the two Governments which attended the failure 
of the Clarendon-Dallas Treaty, the attitude of the United States with respect 
to the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty was amply defined. As early as the twelfth of 
March, 1857, I find that General Cass, then Secretary of State, in the course 
of a conference with Lord Napier, Her Majesty's representative, "passed some 
reflections on the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty ; he had voted for it in the Senate, 

and in doing so he believed that it abrogated all 
intervention on the part of England in the Cen- 
tral American territory. The British Government 
had put a different construction upon the treaty, 
and he regretted the vote he had given in its 
favor." (Dispatch of Lord Napier to the Earl 
of Clarendon, March 12, 1857.) 

On the sixth of May, 1857, President Bu- 
chanan, in an audience given to Lord Napier, 
and in response to His Lordship's suggestion that 
if the attempted adjustment of the difference 
between the Governments as to the Clarendon- 
Dallas Treaty should fail, the Clayton-Bulwer 
Treaty remained to fall back upon, characterized 
that instrument in much stronger terms than 
General Cass had done. To quote Lord Napier's 
words : 

" The President denounced the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty as one which has 
been fraught with misunderstanding and mischief from the beginning ; it was 
concluded under the most opposite constructions by the contracting parties. If 
the Senate had imagined that it could obtain the interpretation placed upon it 
by Great Britain, it would not have passed. If he had been in the Senate at 
the time, that treaty never would have been sanctioned." (Dispatch of Lord 
Napier to the Earl of Clarendon, May 6, 1857.) 

These views are more explicitly and formally repeated in a note addressed 
by Secretary Cass to Lord Napier on the twenty-ninth of May, 1857. He says: 
" The Clayton-Bulwer Treaty, concluded in the hope that it would put an 
end to the differences which had arisen between the United States and Great 
Britain concerning Central American affairs, had been rendered inoperative in 
some of its most essential provisions by the different constructions which had 
been reciprocally given to it by the parties. And little is hazarded in saying 




EARI. OV CLARENDON. 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 323 

that, had the interpretation since put upon the treaty by the British Govern- 
ment, and yet maintained, been anticipated, it would not have been negotiated 
under the instructions of any executive of the United States, nor ratified by the 
branch of the Government intrusted with the power of ratification." 

The publicity of these statements, and the strong feeling which then pre- 
vailed in all quarters that the Clayton-Bnlwer Convention was inadequate tc 
reconcile the opposite views of Great Britain and the United States towards 
Central America, led to a very decided conviction that the treaty should be 
abrogated. Lord Napier reflected this growing impression when, on the twenty- 
second of June, 1S57, he wrote to Lord Clarendon that " it is probable that if 
the pending discussions regarding Central America be not closed during the 
present summer, an attempt will be made in the next session of Congress to set 
aside the Clayton-Bnlwer Treat}-. . . . There can be no doubt of the views 
of the President and Cabinet in this matter." 

Before this tendency could find expression in any official act, a movement 
011 the part of Her Majesty's Government placed the whole matter in a new 
aspect. Sir William Gore Ouseley was sent out October 30, 1S57, as a special 
minister, with the double purpose of concluding with the Central American 
States, and especially with Guatemala and Honduras, settlements of the ques- 
tions relative to the Bay Islands, the Mosquito territory, and the boundaries 
of British Honduras, and also of visiting Washington on the way, and confer- 
ring with the Secretary of State of the United States, for the purpose of ascer- 
taining the views of his Government, and establishing " a perfect understanding 
with the United States upon the points respecting which differences have hitherto 
existed between the two countries." Among these differences was now super- 
added to the territorial question of Mosquito and the islands, the very question 
which to-day most concerns us, the question of interoceanic communication, 
which had for some time been the occasion of correspondence between General 
Cass and Lord Napier, and in relation to which General Cass wrote, on the 
twentieth of October, 1857, as follows: 

" I have thus endeavored to meet the frank suggestions of your lordship 
by restating, with corresponding frankness, the general policy of the United 
States with respect to the Governments and the interoceanic transits of Central 
America ; but since your lordship has referred to the Clayton-Bulwer treaty of 
1850, as contemplating a ' harmonious course of action and counsel between the 
contracting parties in the settlement of Central American interests,' you will 
pardon me for reminding your lordship that the differences which this treatv 
was intended to adjust between the United States and Great Britain still remain 
unsettled, while the treaty itself has become the subject of new and embarrassing 
complications." 

Prior to the arrival of Sir William Ouseley in the United States, Lord 
Napier held an important interview with President Buchanan on the nineteenth of 
October, 1857, with the object of obtaining "further elucidation of the opinions 



324 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

of the President with reference to the adjustment of the Clayton-Bulwei 
Treaty." On that occasion Lord Napier declared that he believed it to be the 
intention of Her Majesty's Government, in Sir William Ouseley's mission, "to 
carry the Clayton-Buhver Treat}- into execution according to the general tenor 
of the interpretation put upon it by the United States ; but to do so by sep- 
arate negotiation with the Central American Republics, in lieu of a direct 
engagement with the Federal Government," and asked that, pending the nego- 
tion intrusted to Sir William Ouseley, " no proposal to annul the (Clayton- 
Buhver) treaty would be sanctioned or encouraged " by the President or the 
members of the United States Govern men t. To this the President cheerfully 
consented, and promised to modify the statements in his annual message to 
Congress accordingly, and under no circumstances to countenance any attempt 
against the Clayton-Buhver Treaty in Congress. 

Matters being in this state, with Sir William Ouseley's mission announced, 
and the benevolently expectant attitude of the United States toward it 
assured, Lord Napier, on the twenty-seventh of October, 1857, in conference with 
General Cass, brought up contingently, as a discarded alternative of his Govern- 
ment, a former proposal to refer the disputed questions to arbitration : 

" General Cass remarked in reply (says Lord Napier, writing to the Earl 
of Clarendon) that he did not repudiate the principle of arbitration on all occa- 
sions ; he had invoked it, and would do so again where it seemed justly appli- 
cable, but that in this matter it was declined by the American Government for 
the following reasons : The language of the treaty was so clear that, in his 
opinion, there ought not to be two opinions about it. . . . That is a mere ques- 
tion of the interpretation of the English language, and he held that a foreign 
Government was not so competent to decide in such a question as the United 
States and England, who possessed that language in common." 

" The Earl of Clarendon in reply approved Lcrd Napier's course in broach- 
ing anew the suggestion of arbitration, and authorized him to renew formally, 
in writing, the offer to refer the disputed questions arising out of the interpre- 
tation of the Clayton-Buhver Treaty to the decision of any European Power 
(instruction of November 13, 1S57), and this was accordingly done by Lord 
Napier in a note to General Cass, dated November 30, 1857. 

In his annual message to Congress in December, 1857, President Buchanan, 
after narrating the negotiation and failure of the Clarendon-Dallas Treaty, said : 

" The fact is that when two nations like Great Britain and the United 
States, mutually desirous, as they are, and I trust ever may be, of maintaining 
the most friendly relations with each other, have unfortunately concluded a treaty 
which they understand in senses directly opposite, the wisest course is to abro- ! 
gate such a treaty by mutual consent and to commence anew. . . . Whilst 
entertaining these sentiments, I shall nevertheless not refuse to contribute to 
any reasonable adjustment of the Central American questions which is not prac- 
tically inconsistent with the American interpretation of the treaty. Overtures 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



325 



for this purpose have been recently made by the British Government in a 
friendly spirit which I cordially reciprocate." 

Meanwhile the Earl of Clarendon had instructed Sir William Ouseley, 
under date of No- 
vember 19, 1857, 
" not to commit Her 
Majesty's Govern- 
ment to any course 
whatever in respect 
to the Bay Islands 
till the intentions of 
the Congress of the 
United States in re- 
gard to the treaty 
of 1850 are clearly 
ascertained." 

The situation, 
then, at the close of 
1857 presented a 
triple deadlock. The 
United States had 
agreed not to move 
toward the abroga- 
tion of the treaty 
until it could be seen 
what interpretation 
of its provisions 
would result from 
Sir William Ouse- 
ley's mission. Sir 
William had re- 
ceived positive in- 
structions not to 
move until the 
United States should 
decide whether to 
abrogate the treaty 
or not ; and Lord 
Napier was forbidden 
to move until the 

United States should make formal answer to the proposal for arbitration. The 
instructions of Lord Clarendon to Lord Napier, January 22, 1858, contained 
these words : 




LORD NAPIER. 



32fi LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

" We are decidedly of opinion that it would neither be consistent with our 
dignity nor our interest to make any proposal to the United States Govern- 
ment until we have received a formal answer to our formal offer of arbitration. 
In the event of the offer being refused, it will be a great and hardly justifiable 
proof of the spirit of conciliation by which we are animated, if we then show 
ourselves disposed to abrogate the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty ; but we must not be 
in too great haste." 

In order, apparently, to break this deadlock, Lord Napier wrote to General 
Cass, February 17, 185S, that 

" Something in the nature of an alternative was thus offered to the Ameri- 
can Cabinet. Should the expedient of arbitration be adopted, a great portion 
of Sir William Ouseley's duty would be transferred to other agencies. Should 
arbitration be declined, it was hoped that the efforts of Her Majesty's envoy 
would result in a settlement agreeable to the United States, inasmuch as in 
essential points it would carry the treaty of 1S50 into operation in a manner 
practicably conformable to the American interpretation of that instrument." 

On the tenth of March, 185S, the Earl of Malmesbury, who had succeeded 
Lord Clarendon in the foreign office, instructed Lord Napier that until an 
answer was returned to the proposal for arbitration 

"No further step can be taken by Her Majesty's Government with that of 
the United States in regard to that matter ; (and further, that) when this point 
is cleared up, Her Majesty's Government, supposing that the Government of 
the United States decline arbitration, will have to determine whether they 
should originate a proposal for the abrogation of the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty, 
or adopt any other course which the circumstances at the moment may seem 
to recommend." 

It appears, however, that the proposal to abrogate the treaty, which Lord 
Malmesbury reserved the right to originate, had already been communicated to 
the Government of the United States by Lord Napier, under instructions from 
Lord Clarendon. In a dispatch, dated March 22, 1S58, Lord Napier wrote: 

"The Earl of Clarendon authorized me to inform General Cass that Her 
Majesty's Government would not decline the consideration of a proposal for the 
abrogation of the treaty by mutual concert. ... I have, accordingly, on two 
occasions, informed General Cass that if the Government of the United States 
be still of the same mind, and continue to desire the abrogation of the treaty 
of 1S50, it would be agreeable to Her Majesty's Government that they should 
insert a proposal to that effect in their reply to my note respecting arbitration.'' 

Lord Napier further reports in detail the conversations which he had with Gen- 
eral Cass as to the most proper method of effecting such abrogation, if agreed to. 

In reply to this dispatch of Lord Napier, the Earl of Malmesbury instructed 
him, April 8, 1S58, that his action was approved, and that he should confine 
himself to pressing for an answer to his proposal for arbitration. His Lordship 
added these significant words : 






LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 327 

"Her Majesty's Government, if the initiative is still left to them by the 
unwillingness of the United States themselves to propose abrogation, desire to 
retain full liberty as to the manner and form in which any such proposal shall 
be laid on their behalf before the Cabinet at Washington. . . . The Clayton- 
Bulwer Treaty has been a source of increasing embarrassment to this country, and 
Her Majesty's Government, if they should be so fortunate as to extricate them- 
selves from the difficulties which have resulted from it, will not involve 
themselves, directly or indirectly, in any similar difficulties for the future. - ' 

The answer of General Cass to Lord Napier's several proposals was 
briefly to the effect that pending the results expected from Sir William Ouseley's 
mission to the Central American States, the United States could not adopt the 
alternative of arbitration, "even if it had not been twice rejected before," and 
that if 

" The President does not hasten to consider now the alternative of repealing 
the treaty of 1850, it is because he does not wish prematurely to anticipate the 
failure of Sir William Ouseley's mission, and is disposed to give a new proof 
to Her Majesty's Government of his sincere desire to preserve the amicable 
relations which now happily subsist between the two countries." (General Cass 
to Lord Napier, April 6, 1S58.) 

In this posture of affairs the Earl of Malmesbury instructed Sir William 
Ouseley to open direct negotiations with the Central American States ; and on 
the eighteenth of August instructed Lord Napier to inform the Government of 
the United States of the intentions and object of Her Majesty's Government in 
the premises. His Lordship added : 

" Modification, arbitration, and abrogation of the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty 
have been flatly rejected. Great Britain and Nicaragua are now about to treat 
as independent States." 

I have emphasized the phrase "flatly rejected," in view of a subsequent 
instruction of the Earl of Malmesbury to Lord Napier, on the eighth of Decem- 
ber, 1858, wherein he said : 

" I think 3'ou would have done better if you had not too pointedly 
brought before the United States Government the notion that the British 
Government might view with favor a proposal to abrogate the Clayton-Bulwer 
Treaty." 

It is not difficult in following this narrative to discern that General Cass, 
though not desiring to express it, had an additional motive for declining to 
propose, at that particular time, the abrogation of. the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty. 
He did not desire by such proposed abrogation to indicate his willingness that 
Sir William Gore Ouseley should make treaties with the separate States of 
Central America unrestrained by the clauses of the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty 
inhibiting the extension of British power in that region. General Cass, with 
his accustomed caution and wisdom, clearly perceived that for the United 
States to propose abrogation on the very eve of Sir William Ouseley's mission 



328 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

would lead to injurious inferences, and would imply conclusions which the 
United States was not prepared to admit. Objectionable as General Cass 
thought the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty, he preferred to adhere to its terms rather 
than give the implied consent of this Government that Great Britain should 
obtain such treaties as the force of her power might secure in Central 
America. The subsequent note of Lord Malmesbury, not strained by an 
uncharitable construction, throws additional light on the subject and confirms 
the wisdom of General Cass in declining to propose abrogation at that time. 
General Cass moreover evidently desired to retain those very clauses of the 
Clayton-Bulwer Treaty to which, in my dispatch of the nineteenth, I proposed 
on the part of this Government to adhere. 

I have dwelt with somewhat of detail on this historic episode, partly 
because it admirably illustrates the spirit with which both Governments have 
regarded the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty from the first, and partly because it had 
more direct bearing on the question of the guarantee of any Isthmian transit 
than any other discussion of the time. In perusing the voluminous corre- 
spondence, the part imprinted as well as that printed and submitted at the time 
to Congress and to Parliament, I am more than ever struck by the elastic 
character of the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty, and the purpose it has served as an 
ultimate recourse on the part of either Government to check apprehended 
designs in Central America on the part of the other, although all the while 
it was frankly admitted on both sides that the engagements of the treaty were 
misunderstandingly entered into, imperfectly comprehended, contradictorily inter- 
preted, and mutually vexatious. 

I am strengthened in this impression by the circumstance that in his 
response to my dispatch of the twenty-fourth of June last, Earl Granville takes 
the ground that the position of Great Britain and the United States toward the 
projected Panama Canal is determined by the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty. How 
far the engagements of that compact extend to the Isthmus of Panama, in the 
sense in which they extend to the projected Nicaraguan transit under the pro- 
visions of Article VIII. , does not seem likely to become a subject for discus- 
sion between the two Governments. For it will be observed that this article 
does not stretch the guarantees and restrictions of Article I. over either the 
Tehuantepec route through Mexican territory, or the Panama route through 
Colombian territory. It is in terms an agreement to extend the protection of 
both countries, by treaty stipulations, to those or any other practicable water- 
ways or railways from ocean to ocean across the Isthmus, outside of Nicaragua, 
Costa Rica, the Mosquito Coast, or any part of Central America. So far as 
this inchoate agreement to agree hereafter is applicable to the Panama transit, 
I have amply shown, in my dispatch of the nineteenth instant, that the obli- 
gations embraced on the part of the United States in concluding the prior 
convention with the Republic of New Granada (now Colombia), in 1846, 
require that the United States should be freed from unequal and inequitable 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 329 

obligations to Great Britain under the vague and as yet unperfected compact 
of 1850. 

My main object in writing this instruction has been to strengthen you 
in any discussion which may now ensue as to the benefits of the Clayton- 
Bulwer Treaty, and the mutual interest of the two countries in conserving it 
as the basis of a settlement of all questions between them touching Central 
American and Isthmian questions. It will be seen that from the time of its 
conclusion in 1850 until the end of 185S its provisions were thrice made the 
basis of a proposal to arbitrate as to their meaning, that modification and abro- 
gation had been alike contingently considered, and that its vexatious and imperfect 
character has been repeatedly recognized on both sides. The present proposal 
of this Government is to free it from those embarrassing features, and leave it, 
as its framers intended it should be, a full and perfect settlement for all time 
of all possible issues between the United States and Great Britain with regard 
to Central America. 

If in your conferences with Earl Granville, it should seem necessary, you 
will make free use of the precedents I have cited and should you, within the 
discretionary limits confided at the end of my dispatch of June 24, have given 
a copy thereof to His Lordship, you are equally at liberty to let him have a copy 
of this also, with the same explanation that it is for your use and not written 
as a formal note for communication to Her Majesty's Government." 

Time and again, in the preceding narrative, as well as in our comments 
respecting the public speeches and papers of Mr. Blaine, we have had occasion 
to refer to his strong sympathies with the Irish cause. In this particular, the 
statesman could hardly restrain his temper. Doubtless James G. Blaine believed 
profoundly that the policy of Great Britain towards her Irish subjects was 
oppressive and tyrannical as indeed it has been. As Secretary of State, he must 
needs be under the restraint of office and under the courtesy which determines 
alike the form of the substance of diplomatical correspondence. Mr. Blaine had 
not been three months in the office of Secretary of State under Garfield until he 
had occasion to take up the Irish question and formulate a paper on the subject 
of "Arbitrary Arrests in Ireland." This paper bears date of May 26, 1881, 
and is addressed to James Russell Lowell, minister of the United States to the 
Court of St. James, as follows : 

Sir Since my instruction of the thirty-first of March last, in reply to yours 
of the twelfth of that month, touching the case of Mr. Michael P. Boy ton, I 
have received your dispatches of March 21, of March 25, and April 7, all 
relating to the same subject. The prudence you have shown in dealing with 
Mr. Boyton's claim of citizenship is commendable, and the statements as to the 
law in his case, made in your letters to him, are in full accord with the 
interpretation of this department. 

In answer to a resolution of the Senate, calling for the facts and corre- 
spondence in the matter, I laid before the President a full report, which was 



330 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

communicated to the Senate on the twentieth instant. In that report I showed 
that the evidence presented by Air. Boyton himself, and by his friends here in 
his behalf, was not such as to prove his claim to citizenship under our laws. 

Had his citizenship been established, I should not have hesitated to do for 
him all that I could properly do for an American citizen, accused of offending 
against British law in British jurisdiction. How far such protection would avail 
to relieve an American citizen from the operation of a British law is a point 
upon which I am not prepared to express an opinion, in view especially of the 
fact that a copy of the so-called " Coercion Act," under which the Boyton 
proceedings were had, has not yet reached the department. As described by 
the public press, it contains provisions giving a latitude of action to the British 
authorities which this Government would be loth to see insisted upon in the 
case of an American citizen. For example, upon reasonable suspicion of the 
commission, within a fixed time prior to the passage of the law, of an act 
therein defined as giving cause for arrest, the authorities are understood to be 
empowered to decree the detention of any person, and his imprisonment for a 
prolonged period, without the obligation of speedy trial or the production of 
proof of criminality. While in some sense an ex post facto enactment, it is in 
others a conferment of arbitrary and irresponsible power, and, in either view, 
repugnant to the principles of civil liberty and personal rights which are the 
common possession of British and American jurisprudence. 

That the fact of American citizenship could, of itself, operate to exempt 
any one from the penalties of a law which he had violated, is, of course an 
untenable proposition. Conversely, however, the proposition that a retroactive 
law, suspending at will the simplest operations of justice, could be applied 
without question to an American citizen, is one to which this Government would 
not give anticipatory assent. 

In the specific case of Mr. Boyton, it is inferred from your statement of the 
facts that the act complained of, the incitement of divers persons to murder 
divers other persons, was committed subsequently to the passage of the Protection 
Act. Had Mr. Boyton's American citizenship been established, we could not, 
in view of this, have pleaded the retroactive application of the law. Neither 
could we have decently protested against the application of some process of law 
where so grave an offence was charged against a foreigner while a guest in the 
dominions of a friendly State. The allegation that such an act was done by an 
alien and a guest, while throwing upon the country to which the offender owes 
allegiance no duty to defend him or disprove his crime, on the other hand does 
not absolve the justice of the country where the commission of the act is 
alleged from the burden of proving the guilt of the criminal by due course 
of law within a reasonable time, or, in default of prompt and lawful proof, from 
the obligation of releasing him. Immunity would not be asked, but prompt 
and certain justice, under the usual and unstrained operation of law, would be 
certainly expected. 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 331 

I have set these views before you hypothetically, as suggested by Air. 
Boyton's case, not as applicable thereto. It is not desired that you should com- 
municate them to Her Majesty's Government in advance of any case warranting 
our intervention, but you will bear them in mind if a contingency should 
unhappily arise calling for your interposition." 

The same subject was continued by Mr. Blaine one week later in a dispatch 
to the American Minister in London, as follows : 

Department oe State, Washington, June 2, 1881. 

Sir: Referring to my general instruction of the twenty-sixth ultimo, in 
relation to the case of Michael P. Boyton, I now enclose to you a copy of a 
letter of the thirtieth of the same month from the Honorable Samuel J. Randall, 
in behalf of Mr. Joseph B. Walsh, a citizen of the United States, who, it appears, 
was arrested on the third of March last, under the provisions of the late act of 
Parliament, known as the " Protection Act." Mr. Walsh is represented as being 
imprisoned in Dublin, and it is probable that Kilmainham Jail is the place of 
confinement. His relatives in this country, knowing only of his arrest and 
imprisonment, are unable to afford the department any information as to the 
specific charge, if any, upon which he is held ; and it seems probable that the 
prisoner himself is in ignorance in regard to the particular offence for which 
he is thus subjected to summary detention and confinement. 

Mr. Walsh has been a citizen of the United States since 1875. His 
character as a law-abiding citizen is vouched for by well-known and respectable 
citizens of Pennsylvania. I enclose a copy of his certificate of naturalization. 

I have already indicated to you in my instruction of the twenty-sixth of 
May the entire absence of any disposition on the part of this Government to 
interfere with the administration of the local or general municipal laws of Great 
Britain. The laws of that country, and especially those that relate to the 
personal liberty and security of the citizen, have always been so much in har- 
mony with the principles of jurisprudence cherished by Americans as a birthright, 
that they have never failed to command the respect of the Government and 
people of the United States. But whatever the necessity may be in the 
estimation of Her Majesty's Government for the existence and enforcement in 
Ireland of the exceptional legislative measures recently enacted in respect to that 
country, this Government cannot view with unconcern the application of the 
summary proceedings attendant upon the execution of these measures to natural- 
ized citizens of the United States of Irish origin, whose business relations may 
render necessary their presence in any part of the United Kingdom, or whose 
filial instincts and love for kindred may have prompted them to revisit their 
native country. 

If American citizens within British jurisdiction offend against British laws 
this Government will not seek to shield them from the legal consequences of 
their acts. But it must insist upon the application to their cases of those 



332 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

common principles of criminal jurisprudence which in the United States secure to 
every man who offeuds against its laws, whether he be an American citizen or 
a foreign subject, those safeguards to personal liberty which afford the strongest 
protection against oppression under the forms of law. 

That an accused person shall immediately upon arrest be informed of the 
specific crime or offence upon which he is held, and that he shall be afforded an 
opportunity for a speedy trial before an impartial court and jury, are essentials 
to ever}' criminal prosecution, necessary alike to the protection of innocence and 
the ascertainment of guilt. You will lose no time in making the necessary 
inquiries into the cause of Mr. Walsh's arrest and detention, in which it is 
probable that Mr. Barrows, the consul at Dublin, may be able to aid you. If 
you shall find that the circumstances of the case, in the light of this and pre- 
vious instructions, are such as to call for interference on the part of this Govern- 
ment, you will make such temperate but earnest representations as in your judg- 
ment will conduce to his speedy trial, or, in case there is no specific charge against 
him, to his prompt release." 

A second question which arose as early ?s the first service of Mr. Blaine 
in the office of Secretary of State was that <f *the attitude of certain foreign 
nations towards their Jewish subjects. The world knows how greatly the Hebrew 
race has been distressed, for several centuries' together. At hardly any time 
has that race dispersed as it is into man}' countries had peace and rest. In 
our own day it would appear that Russia has been the greatest of sinners 
respecting the ancient seed. On the twenty-second of November, 1881, Mr. 
Blaine had occasion to send abroad a diplomatical paper to the representatives 
of the American Government in England and on the Continent. The paper 
runs as follows : 

OPPRESSION OF THE HEBREWS IN RUSSIA. 

Sir : On the twenty-sixth of July last, vou transmitted a memorandum from 
the laws and police regulations of Russia affecting persons of the Hebrew faith, 
which you had received from Sir Charles Dilke, one of Her Majesty's under 
secretaries of state for foreign affairs. Although no information was then 
given as to the motive of this courteous and acceptable communication, I naturally 
inferred that it was in a measure the result of the consultations which the 
United States minister at St. Petersburg had been directed to hold informally 
with his British colleague at that court touching the treatment of such American 
or British Jews as should, because of business engagements or other causes 
calling them to Russia, unfortunately find themselves under the operation of 
the prescriptive laws of the empire against all Israelites, native or foreign. 

The question has for some years seriously engaged the attention of this 
Government as presented in the cases of American citizens of Hebrew faith 
visiting Russia on peaceful, law-observing errands. Under the direction of the late 
President Garfield the representation of what we believed to be our just claims 
in the premises was vigorously renewed through the United States minister at St. 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



333 



Petersburg by means of instructions, of which I enclose, for your information, 
copies with the relative annexes. Those instructions still properly reflect the 
opinion of this Government that there should be a change in the treatment of 
American Israelites in Russia. The circumstance that the case of Mr. Lewisohn, 
a British subject expelled from the Russian capital, attracted the attention of 
Her Majesty's Government, suggests to the President that the almost identical 
interests of the 
two Governments 
in the premises 
justify similar ac- 
tion on their part. 
The dispatches 
of the American 
envoy at St. Pe- 
tersburg show that 
the Russian min- 
ister for foreign 
affairs has made 
frequent assertions 
of a strong desire 
on the part of his 
Government to 
seek a solution 
which would har- 
monize all in- 
terests. While de- 
clining to admit 
that the existing 
convention may 
exempt American 
citizens from ab- 
ject submission to 
the religious laws 
of the land, the 
minister has, on 
several occasions, 
promised that the expulsion* of jews from village of tedolsk, russia. 

military authorities, in the enforcement of those laws, would give to American 
citizens the widest practicable latitude in interpreting the obligations of the stat- 
utes. Iu point of fact, it is believed that American (and presumably British) 
sojourners in Russia enjoy, under the almost absolute discretionary powers of the 
imperial military commanders, the privileges and immunities which are granted 
to any foreigners. This Government conceives, however, that it should not be 




334 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

content with leaving the persons and the material interest of its citizens in 
Russia to the discretionary control of the military power, however friendly its 
declared purpose may be. In this conception it may very properly assume to 
be joined by Her Majesty's Government, which has ever been watchfully jealous 
of the moral freedom of its subjects in foreign lauds. 

It must be inexpressibly painful to the enlightened statesman of Great 
Britain, as well as of America, to see a discarded prejudice of the dark ages 
gravel}- revived at this day to witness an attempt to base the policy of a great 
and sovereign State on the mistaken theory that thrift is a crime of which the 
unthrifty are the innocent victims, and that discontent and disaffection are to 
be diminished by increasing the causes from which they arise. No student of 
history need be reminded of the lessons taught by the persecutions of the Jews 
in Central Europe and on the Spanish Peninsula. Then, as in Russia to-day, 
the Hebrew fared better in business than his neighbor; then, as now, his 
economy and patient industry bred capital, and capital bred envy, and envy 
bred persecution, and persecution bred disaffection and social separation. The 
old tradition moves in its unvarying circle the Hebrews are made a people 
apart from other people, not of their own volition, but because they have been 
repressed and ostracized by the communities in which they reside. In Great 
Britain and in the United States the Israelite is not segregated from his fellowmen. 
His equal part in our social framework is unchallenged, his thrift and industry 
add to the wealth of the State, and his loyalty and patriotism are unquestioned. 

It was perfectly clear to the mind of the late President that an amelioration 
of the treatment of American Israelites in Russia could result only from a very 
decided betterment of the condition of the native Hebrews, that any steps taken 
towards the relief of one would necessarily react in favor of the other, and that, 
under all the peculiar and abnormal aspects of the case, it is competent and 
proper to urge the subject upon the attention of Russia. To his successor in 
the Chief Magistracy, these conclusions are no less evident, and I am charged 
by the President to bring the subject to the formal attention of her Britannic 
Majesty's Government, in the firm belief that the community of interests 
between the United States and England in this great question of civil rights 
and equal tolerance of creed for their respective citizens in foreign lands will 
lead to consideration of the matter with a view to common action thereon. 
It would seem, moreover, a propitious time to initiate a movement which might 
also embrace other powers whose service in the work of progress is commen- 
surate with our own, to the end that Russia may be influenced by their joint 
representations, and that their several citizens and subjects visiting the Empire 
on law-observing missions of private interest shall no longer be met with 
subjection of conscience to military forms and procedure which obtain nowhere 
else in Europe. 

You may read this dispatch to Lord Granville, and, if he desires it, leave 
with him a copy. You will say to him that, while abating no part of his 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 335 

intention to press upon the Russian Government the just claim of American 
citizens to less harsh treatment in the empire by reason of their faith, the 
President will await with pleasure an opportunity for an interchange of views 
upon the subject with the Government of Her Majesty." 

At the time when Mr. Blaine became Secretary of State under Garfield, 
the diplomacy of the United States reached out broadly to many questions of 
international importance. Fortunately, nearly all of these were questions of 
peace. War, at that particular juncture, had smoothed somewhat his wrinkled 
front. In some quarters, however, there was belligerency. South America, as 
usual, was distracted with conflicts. Peru, Chili and Bolivia were at war. Such 
a state of affairs among the peoples of our sister America appealed strongly to 
Mr. Blaine's sympathies and imagination. It were hard to say why the thought 
of some of our statesmen has turned so instinctively to the South American 
Republics. The reader knows how sincerely Henry Clay and his followers 
were, in their times, devoted to the cause of republicanism south of our central 
isthmus. The sympathies of Mr. Blaine perhaps had a like root in certain 
features of policy that were common to him and that statesman, whom the 
world has insisted on regarding as his prototype. As early as the ninth of 
May, 1 88 1, the Secretary of State began to send dispatches to Mr. Christiancy, 
at that time minister of the United States at the capital of Peru. This first 
communication was followed with a letter of instructions under date of June 15, 
1881, and this in its turn was followed with a third communication bearing 
date of August 4 of the same year. The last two dispatches were directed 
to Mr. Hurlbut, who had been sent on a mission from the United States to 
Peru. Garfield was now lying on his death-bed and the Secretary of State, no 
doubt, foresaw the end. We may believe that he was disturbed by the situation. 
In it he perceived the speedy termination of his cherished policies. After the 
death of the President he continued on November 17, two days afterwards, and 
still again on the twenty-second, to carry forward his diplomatical correspondence 
with the representatives of the Government in Peru and other South American 
capitals. The war among the Republics was distressing, and we may perceive 
in the communications of the Secretary a strong desire to prevent the continu- 
ation of hostilities. We may not here consider what might have been the 
result of the negotiations had Garfield lived and Blaine been able to pursue his 
policies to their logical termination. Up to the end of the term of his service 
he continued to press his influence for whatever it might bring in the way 
of securing peace and restoration to the belligerent Republics of South America. 
As late as first of December, 1881, we find him addressing to Hon. William H. 
Prescott, special envoy of the United States to Peru, Chili and Bolivia, the 
following communication : 

WAR OF PERU, CHILI AND BOLIVIA. 

Sir : While the circumstances under which the President has deemed it 
proper to charge you with a special mission to the Republics of Chili, Peru 



336 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



and Bolivia render it necessary that much shall be confided to your own 
discretion, it is desirable that you should be placed in full possession of his 
views as to the general line of conduct which you will be expected to pursue. 

For this purpose it is not necessary at present to go farther back in the 
history of the unfortunate relations between Chili on the one hand and Peru 
and Bolivia on the other, than the time when the defeat of General Pierola, 
his abandonment of the capital and the coast, and their occupation by the 
Chilian army, seemed to have put an end to all responsible native govern- 
ment in Peru. Lima having been surrendered on the nineteenth of January, 1881, 
Pierola driven across the mountains, the Chilian military occupation consolidated ; 
and the Chilian Government refusing to recognize Pierola as representing the 

Government o f 
Peru, it became 
absolutely neces- 
sary that some 
Government 
should be estab- 
lished, if Peru 
were not to re- 
main simply a 
military district 
of Chili. 

O n February 
25, 1 88 1, Mr. 
Christiancy, the 
United States 
Minister at Lima, 
wrote this de- 
partment as fol- 
lows : 

" A movement 

has, therefore, 

and Callao, and 

oppo- 




CHILI-PERUVIAN WAR. DEFEAT OF PERUVIANS AT TACNA. 



been initiated among some of the leading citizens of Lima 
encouraged by the Chilian authorities, to establish a new Government in 
sition to that of Pierola (who is still at Tacna or Yareja)." 

From this date to April 13, 1S81, Mr. Christiancy kept the department 
informed of the probabilities of the establishment of the Calderon Government, 
so called from the name of the eminent Peruvian statesman who had been 
chosen President. On that date he wrote : 

" In my own private opinion, however, if the provisional government had 
come up without any appearance of support from the Chilian authorities, it 
would have had many elements of popularity and would probably have succeeded 
in obtaining the acquiescence of the people. This new Government realizes 






LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



337 



the importance of an early peace with Chili, the necessity of which must be 
recognized by every thoughtful man ; while that of Pierola professes to intend 
to carry on the war; but it has no means for the purpose at present, and 
my own opinion is that any effort to do so will end in still greater calamities 
to Peru." 

On May 23, the same minister, in a postscript to his dispatch of the 
seventeenth, says : 

" Since writing the above it has become still more probable that the threat 
of ' indefinite occupation ' was intended only to drive the Peruvians into the 
support of the provisional government, as two days ago they allowed the Govern- 
ment to send seventy-five soldiers to Tacna, Oroyo, etc., to control that part 
of the country, so as to allow the members of Congress to come to Lima ; and 




CHILI-PERUVIAN WAR. CHILIANS CAPTURING PISAGUA. 

it now begins to look as if Calderon might secure a quorum (two-thirds) of the 
Congress. If he does succeed, it will be some evidence that Peru acquiesces 
in that Government. And if he gets the two-thirds of the members, I think 
I shall recognize the provisional government, or that of the Congress and 
the President they may elect, unless in the meantime I shall receive other 
instructions." 

On the ninth of May, 1SS1, instructions had been sent to him from this 
department, which crossed this dispatch, in which he was told: 

" If the Calderon Government is supported by the character and intelligence 
of Peru, and is really endeavoring to restore constitutional government with a 
view both to order within and negotiation with Chili for peace, you may recog- 
nize it as the existing provisional government, and render what aid you can. by 
advice and good offices to that end." 



338 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

Acting under these instructions, although with some expressed doubt as to 
the probable permanence of its existence, Mr. Christiancy, on the twenty-sixth 
of June, 1 88 1, formally recognized the Calderon Government. It is clear that 
this recognition was not an unfriendly intervention as far as the wishes and 
interests of Chili were concerned, for under date of May 7, 1SS1, two days 
before these instructions of the ninth were sent to Mr. Christiancy, Mr. Osborn, 
the United States Minister to Chili, wrote from Santiago as follows : 

"In my dispatch of April 5, regarding the war in this section, I mentioned 
the fact that the minister of war, Mr. Yergara, who had been with the army 
at Lima, had been sent for, and was then on his way to Chili. Since his 
arrival the Government has labored to reach a conclusion touching the course 
to be pursued with Peru, and to that end numerous and extended discussions 
among the ministers and prominent citizens of the Republic, who had been 
invited to participate, have taken place. Three plans or propositions were dis- 
cussed: First, that spoken of by me in my No. 201, involving the withdrawal 
of the army to Arica ; second, the occupation of the entire Peruvian coast bv 
the Chilian forces, and its government by Chilian authorities; and third, the 
strengthening of the Government of Calderon, and the negotiation of a peace 
therewith. The propriety of entering into negotiations with Pierola was not 
even dignified with a consideration. After much labor the Government reached 
the conclusion that the last proposition afforded the easiest way out of their 
complications, and it has been determined to send Mr. Godoy to Peru, in 
charge of the negotiations. . . . The ministry has freely counseled with me 
regarding the difficulties of the situation, and in view of their previous deter- 
mination to have nothing to do with Pierola, I cannot but applaud the result 
of their deliberations. To vacate the country now would be to turn it over to 
anarch}', and to attempt to occupy the entire coast would, in time, involve both 
countries in ruin. The most feasible way to peace is, in my opinion, the one 
resolved upon. In fact it is the only one which offers any reasonable hope of 
a solution of the difficulties during the present generation." 

In giving the support of recognition to the Calderon Government, there- 
fore, so far was this Government from doing what could be considered an 
unfriendly act to Chili, that it was, in fact, giving its aid to the very policy 
which Chili avowed, and which, in the opinion of competent judges, was the 
only method of reasonable solution. 

This conclusion of the Government was confirmed bv the information 
which was transmitted to the Department by General Kilpatrick, who succeeded 
Mr. Osborn as the United States Minister to Chili. General Kilpatrick was 
appointed after the recognition of the Calderon Government, and was furnished 
with instructions to which I have already referred. 

In his dispatch, under date August 15, 1881, he says: 

" I have the honor to report that, so far as the assurance of public men can 
be relied upon, your instructions have been complied with ; your ideas of final 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



oot 



peace accepted, not only by the present administration at Santiago, but still better 
of Sefior Santa Maria, the President-elect, whose administration will have begun 
when you receive this note." 

General Kilpatrick then proceeds to give a detailed account of a long inter- 
view with the leading and most influential members of the Chilian Government, 
in which he quotes the following as the final assurances given to him by the 
Chilian Secretary of State : 

" You may therefore say to your Government that every effort would be 
given by Chili to 
strengthen the 
Government of 
President Cal- 
deron, giving to it 
the most perfect 
freedom of action, 
considering the 
Chilian occupa- 
tion ; that no ques- 
tion of Chilian an- 
nexation would be 
touched until a 
constitutional gov- 
ernment could be 
established in 
P e r u , ackno w 1 - 



edged and re- 
spected by the peo- 
ple, with full 
powers to enter 
into diplomatic 
negotiations for 
peace ; that no ter- 
ritory would be 
exacted unless 
Chili failed to se- 
cure ample and general kilpatrick. 

just indemnification in other and satisfactory ways, as also ample security for 
the future ; and that in no case would Chili exact territory save where Chilian 
enterprise and Chilian capital had developed the desert and where to-day 
nine-tenths of the people were Chilian." 

But after this recognition, made in entire good faith to both parties, three 
things followed : 

i. The presence of a United States Minister at Lima accredited to the 




340 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

Calderou Government, and the reception in Washington of a minister from that 
Government, gave it, unquestionably, increased strength and confidence. 

2. The adherents of Pierola, realizing the necessity of peace and the existence 
of a stable government to negotiate it, gradually abandoned the forlorn hope of 
continued resistance, and gave their adhesion to the Calderon Government. 

3. The Congress which assembled within the neutral zone set apart for that 
purpose by the Chilian authorities, and which was further allowed by the Chilian 
Government to provide for the military impositions by the use of the national 
credit, and was thus recognized as the representative of the Peruvian people, 
authorized President Calderon to negotiate a peace, but upon the condition that 
no territory should be ceded. 

As soon as these facts indicated the possibility of a real and independent 
vitality in the constitution of the Calderon Government the Chilian military 
authorities issued an order forbidding any exercise of its functions within the 
territory occupied by the Chilian army that is, within the entire territory west 
of the mountains, including the capital and ports of Peru. 

Unable to understand this sudden and, giving due regard to the professions 
of Chili, this unaccountable change of policy, this Government instructed its 
minister at Lima to continue to recognize the Calderon Government until more 
complete information would enable it to send further instructions. If our present 
information is correct, immediately upon the receipt of this communication thev 
arrested President Calderon, and tints, as far as was in their power, extinguished 
his government. The President does not now insist upon the inference which 
this action would warrant. He hopes that there is some explanation which will 
relieve him from the painful impression that it was taken in resentful reply to 
the continued recognition of the Calderon Government by the United States. 
If, unfortunately, he should be mistaken, and this motive be avowed, your duty 
will be a brief one. You will say to the Chilian Government that the President 
considers such a proceeding as an intentional and unwarranted offence, and that 
you will communicate such an avowal to the Government of the United States, 
with the assurance that it will be regarded by the Government as an act of such 
unfriendly import as to require the immediate suspension of all diplomatic 
intercourse. You will inform me immediately of such a contingency and 
instructions will be sent you. 

But I do not anticipate such an occurrence. From the information before 
the department, of which you are possessed, it is more probable that this course 
will be explained by an allegation that the conduct and language of the United 
States Minister in Peru had encouraged the Calderon Government to such 
resistance of the wishes of Chili as to render the negotiation of a satisfactorv 
treaty of peace with the Calderon Government impossible. Any explanation 
which relieves this action by the Chilian Government of the character of an 
intentional offence will be received by you to that extent, provided it does not 
require as a condition precedent the disavowal of Mr. Hurlbut. Whatever may 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



341 



"be uiy opinion as to the discretion of all that may have been said or done by 
Mr. Hurlbut, it is impossible for me to recognize the right of the Chilian 
Government to take such action without submitting to the consideration of this 
Government any cause of complaint against the proceedings of the represent- 
ative of the United States. The Chilian Government was in possession of the 
instructions sent to our minister at the capital of Peru, as well as those to his 
colleague at Santiago. There was no pretence that the conduct of General 
Kilpatrick was anything but friendly. Chili was represented here by a 
minister who enjoyed the confidence of his Government, and nothing can 
justify the assumption that the United States was acting a double part in 
its relations to the two countries. If the conduct of the United States 
minister seemed inconsistent with what Chili had every reason to know was 
the friendly intention of the United States, a courteous representation through 
the Chilian minister here would have enabled 
this Government promptly to correct or confirm 
him. You are not therefore authorized to make 
to the Chilian Government any explanation of 
the conduct of General Hurlbut, if that Gov- 
ernment, not having afforded us the opportunity 
of accepting or disavowing his conduct, insists 
upon making its interpretation of his proceed- 
ings the justification of its recent action. 

It is hoped, however, that you will be able, 
by communication at once, firm and temperate, 
to avoid these embarrassments. If you should 
fortunately reach the point where frank, mutual 
explanation can be made without the sacrifice 
of that respect which every Government owes to 
itself, you will then be at liberty, conforming 
your explanation to the recent instruction to 
Mr. Hurlbut, with a copy of which you are furnished, to show to the Govern- 
ment of Chili how much both his words and acts have been misconceived. 

It is difficult for me to say how far an explanation would be satisfactory 
to the President which was not accompanied by the restoration or recognition of 
the Calderon Government. The objects which he has at heart are, first, to 
prevent the misery, confusion, and bloodshed which the present relations 
between Chili and Peru seem only too certain to renew ; and, second, to take 
care that in any friendly attempt to reach this desirable end the Government 
of the- United States is treated with the respectful consideration to which its 
disinterested purpose, its legitimate influence, and its established position entitle 
it. The President feels in this matter neither irritation nor resentment. He 
regrets that Chili seems to have misconceived both the spirit and intention of 
the Government of the United States, and he thinks her course has been 







PRESIDENT CALDERON, OF PERU. 



342 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

inconsiderate. He will gladly learn that a calmer and wiser judgment directs 
her counsels, and asks in no exacting spirit the correction of what were 
perhaps natural misunderstandings. He would be satisfied with the manifesta- 
tion of a sincere purpose on the part of Chili to aid Peru, either in restoring 
the present provisional government or establishing in its place one which will 
be allowed the freedom of action necessary to insure internal order and to 
conduct a real negotiation to some substantial result. 

Should the Chilian Government, while disclaiming any intention of offence, 
maintain its right to settle its difficulties with Peru without the friendly 
intervention of other Powers, and refuse to allow the formation of an}- Govern- 
ment in Peru which does not pledge its consent to the cession of Peruvian 
territory, it will be your duty, in language as strong as is consistent with the 
respect due to an independent Power, to express the disappointment and dissatis- 
faction felt by the United States at such a deplorable policy. 

You will say that this Government recognizes without reserve the right of 
Chili to adequate idemnity for the cost of the war, and a sufficient guarantee 
that it will not again be subjected to hostile demonstration from Peru ; and 
further, that if Peru is unable or unwilling to furnish such idemnity, the right 
of conquest has put it in the power of Chili to supply it, and the reasonable 
exercise of that right, however much its necessity may be regretted, is not 
ground of legitimate complaint on the part of other Powers. But this Govern- 
ment feels that the exercise of the right of absolute conquest is dangerous to 
the best interests of all the Republics of this continent ; that from it are 
certain to spring other wars and political disturbances; and that it imposes, 
even upon the conqueror, burdens which are scarcely compensated by the 
apparent increase of strength which it gives. This Government also holds that 
between two independent nations, the mere existence of war does not confer the 
right of conquest until the failure to furnish the indemnity and guarantee 
which can be rightfully demanded. 

The United States maintains, therefore, that Peru has the right to demand 
that an opportunity should be allowed her to find such indemnity and guarantee. 
Nor can this Government admit that a cession of territory can be properly 
exacted far exceeding in value the amplest estimate of a reasonable indemnitv. 

Already, by force of its occupation, the Chilian Government has collected 
large sums from Peru ; and it has been openly and officially asserted in the 
Chilian Congress that these military impositions have furnished a surplus beyond 
the cost of maintaining its armies in that occupation. The annexation of Tarapaca, 
which, under proper administration, would produce annually a sum sufficient to 
pay a large indemnity, seems not to be consistent with the execution of 
justice. 

The practical prohibition of the formation of a stable government in Peru, 
and the absolute appropriation of its most valuable territory, is simply the 
extinction of a State which has formed part of the system of Republics on this 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 343' 

continent, honorable in the traditions and illustrations of its past history, and 
rich in resources for future progress. The United States, with which Peru has 
for many years maintained the most cordial relations, has the right to feel and 
to express a deep interest in her distressed condition ; and while, cherishing 
equal friendliness to Chili, we will not interpose to deprive her of the fair 
advantages of military success, nor put any obstacle to the attainment of future 
security, we cannot regard with unconcern the destruction of Peruvian nationality. 
It our good offices are rejected, and this pnlicv of the absorption of an independ- 
ent State be persisted in, this Government will consider itself discharged from 
any further obligation to be influenced in its action by the position which Chili 
has assumed, and will hold itself free to appeal to the other Republics of this 
continent to join it in an effort to avert consequences which cannot be confined 
to Chili and Peru, but which threaten with extreme danger the political 
institutions, the peaceful progress, and the liberal civilization of all America. 

If, however, none of these embarrassing obstacles supervene, and Chili 
receives in a friendly spirit the representations of the United States, it will be 
your purpose 

First -To concert such measures as will enable Peru to establish a regular 
Government, and initiate negotiation. 

Second To induce Chili to consent to such negotiation without cession of 
territory as a condition precedent. 

Third To impress upon Chili that in such negotiation she ought to allow 
Peru a fair opportunity to provide for a reasonable indemnity ; and, in this 
connection, to let it be understood that the United States would consider the 
imposition of an extravagant indemnity, so as to make the cession of territory 
necessary in satisfaction, as more than is justified by the actual cost of the war 
and as a solution threatening renewed difficulty between the two countries. 

As it is probable that some time will elapse before the completion of all 
the arrangements necessary for a final negotiation, this Government would 
suggest a temporary convention, which, recognizing the spirit of our present 
friendly representation, would bring Peru and Chili into amicable conference and 
provide for a meeting of plenipotentiaries to negotiate a permanent treaty of peace. 

If negotiation be assured, the ability of Peru to furnish the indemnity will 
be a matter of direct interest. Upon this subject we have no information upon 
which definite instructions can now be based. While you will carefullv abstain 
from any interposition in this connection, you will examine and report to this 
department promptly any plans which may be suggested. 

You will not indicate any wish that the Government of the United States 
should act as umpire in the adjudications between the contending powers. 
Should an invitation to that effect be extended, you will communicate by 
telegraph for instructions. The single and simple desire of this Government 
is to see a just and honorable peace at the earliest day practicable, and if any 
other American Government can more effectively aid in producing this auspicious 



344 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



result, the United States will cordially sustain it and lend such co-operation as 
the circumstances may demand." 

The foreign policy of the Government of the United States has, for the 
last quarter of a century, had the same tone towards Mexico as towards the 
South American Republics. In his sympathy with the former State Mr. Blaine 
has been by no means singular. General Grant had a ver}^ strong esteem for 
our sister republic, and his feelings and instincts in that direction were shown 

in man\- of his pub- 
lic papers. Mexico, 
as well as Peru, Boli- 
via and Chili, came 
in for eonsid-eration 
during the service 
of Secretary Blaine 
under Garfield. At 
that time Mr. Morgan 
was our minister in 
Mexico, and to him 
Blaine, writing un- 
der date of June i, 
1881, sent the fol- 
lowing dispatch: 

OUR FRIENDLY RE- 
LATIONS WITH 
MEXICO. 

Sir: As the re- 
lations between the 
Government of the 
United States and 
that of Mexico hap- 
pily grow more ami- 
cable and intimate, 
it is but natural that 
a disposition should 
in like manner be de- 
veloped between the 

citizens of the respective countries to seek new means of fostering their material 
interests, and that the ties which spring from commercial interchange should tend 
to grow and strengthen with the growing and strengthening spirit of good-will 
which animates both peoples. That this spirit exists is the most grateful proof that 
the frank and conciliatory policy of the United States towards Mexico has borne 
and is bearing good fruit. This is especially visible in the rapidly extending 
desire on the part of the citizens of this country to take an active share in the 




f 1 

PRESIDENT DIAZ, OF MEXICO. 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



345 



prosecution of those industrial enterprises for which the resources of Mexico 
offer so broad and promising a field, as well as in the responsive and increasing 
disposition which is manifest on the part of the Mexican people to welcome 
such projects. No fact in the historical relations of the two great Republics 
of the Northern Continent gives happier promise for both, and it is a source 
of especial gratification to this Government that the jealousies and distrusts 
which have at times clouded the perfect friendship of the two Governments 
are thus yielding to the more wholesome spirit of reciprocal frankness and 
confidence. 

It seems proper at this time, when a new administration has constitu- 
tionally and peacefully come into power 
in Mexico, devoted to fulfilling and ex- 
tending the just policy of its prede- 
cessor, to call your attention to those 
general precepts which, in the judg- 
ment of the President, should govern 
the relations between the two Republics, 
and to bear testimony to which will be 
your most important duty as the dip- 
lomatic representative of the United 
States. 

The record of the last fifteen years 
must have removed from the minds of 
the enlightened statesmen of Mexico 
ever)'' lingering doubt touching the 
policy of the United States toward her 
sister Republic. That policy is one of 
faithful and impartial recognition of the 
independence and the integrity of the 
Mexican nation. At this late day it 
needs no disclaimer on our part of the 
existence of even the faintest desire in 
the United States for territorial extension 




DON MATIOS ROMERO, MEXICAN MINISTER. 



south of the Rio Grande. The boundaries of the two Republics have been long 
settled in conformity with the best jurisdictional interests of both. The line of 
demarcation is not conventional merely. It is more than that. It separates a 
Spanish-American people from a Saxon-American people. It divides one great 
nation from another with distinct and natural finality. The increasing prosperity 
of both commonwealths can only draw into closer tinion the friendty feeling, 
the political sympathy and the varied interests which their history and neigh- 
borhood have created and encouraged. In all your intercourse with the Mexican 
Government and people it must be your chief endeavor to reflect this firm 
conviction of your Government. 



346 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

It is a source of profound gratification to the Government of the United 
States that the political condition of Mexico is so apparently aud assuredly in 
the path of stability, and the administration of its constitutional government 
so regular, that it can offer to foreign capital that just and certain protection 
without which the prospect even of extravagant profit will fail to tempt the 
extension of commercial and industrial enterprise. It is still more gratifying 
that with a full comprehension of the political and social advantages of such a 
mode of developing the material resources of the country, the Government of 
Mexico cordially lends its influence to the spirit of welcome and encourage- 
ment with which the Mexican people seem disposed to greet the importation 
of wealth and enterprise. 

The present progress in this direction by the National Government of 
Mexico is but an earnest of the great good which may be accomplished when 
the intimate and necessary relations of the two countries and peoples are better 
understood than now. To conduce to this better understanding must be your 
constant labor. While, therefore, carefully avoiding all appearance of advocacy 
of any personal undertakings which citizens of the United States may desire to 
initiate in Mexico, you will take every opportunity which you may deem judi- 
cious to make clear the spirit and motive that control this movement in the 
direction of developing Mexican resources. You will impress upon the Govern- 
ment of Mexico the earnest wish and hope felt by the people and Government 
of this country that these resources may be multiplied and rendered fruitful for 
the primary benefit of the Mexican people themselves ; that the forms of consti- 
tutional and stable government may be strengthened as domestic wealth 
increases and as the conservative spirit of widely distributed and permanent 
vested interests is more and more felt; that the administration of the Mexican 
finances, fostered by these healthful tendencies, may be placed upon a firm basis ; 
that the rich sections of the great territory of the Republic may be brought into 
closer intercommunication ; in a word, that Mexico may promptly and firmly 
assume the place towards which she is so manifestly tending as one of the most pros- 
perous and well-ordered States in the harmonious system of Western Republics. 

In future dispatches more detailed instructions will be given you, touching 
certain points of interest to the two Governments in the direction of an enlarged 
reciprocal trade and interchange of commodities. It is my present design 
simply to acquaint you with the President's views and feeling towards Mexico, 
and with the spirit which will animate his policy. 

You can read this dispatch to the minister of foreign affairs, and, if he 
desires, leave a copy of it with him." 

The " Detailed Instructions " referred to in next to the last paragraph of 
the above communication were given in a second communication from the 
Department of State, under date of June 16, 1SS1, as follows: 

_ Sir: In my instructions of the first instant, I endeavored to set forth the 
spirit of good-will which animates this Government towards Mexico. I trust 



LIEE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



347 



no doubt can remain as to the sincerity of our friendship. Believing that this 
friendship, and the frankness which has always distinguished the policy of this 
country towards its neighbors, warrant the tender of amicable counsel when 
occasion therefor shall appear, and deeming such counsel due to our recog- 
nized impartiality, and to the position of the United States as the founder, 
and, in some sense, the guarantor and guardian of Republican principles 
on the American Continent, it seems proper now to call your attention to 
a subject touching which we feel some natural concern. I refer to the ques- 
tion of boundaries and territorial jurisdiction pending between Mexico and 
Guatemala. 

In the time of the Empire, the forces of Iturbide overran a large part of 
the territory of what now constitutes Central America, which had then recently 
thrown off the Spanish domination. The changing fortunes of war resulted in 
the withdrawal of Mexican forces from most of that region, except the important 
provinces of Soconusco and Chiapas, which remained under their control. 
Since that time the boundaries between the two countries 
have never been adjusted upon a satisfactory basis. 
Mexico, becoming a Republic, did not forego claims based 
on the imperial policy of conquest and absorption, while 
Guatemala, resisting further progress of Mexican arms, 
and disputing, step by step, the conquests already made, 
has never been able to come to a decision with her more 
powerful neighbor concerning the relative extension of 
their jurisdiction in the disputed strip of territory lying 
between the Gulf of Tehuantepec and the Peninsula of 
Yucatan. 

Under these circumstances, the Government of Guate- 
mala has made a formal application to the President of 
the United States to lend his good offices towards the 
restoration of a better state of feeling between the two Republics. This appli- 
cation is made in frank and conciliatory terms, as to the natural protector 
of the rights and national integrity of the Republican forms of Govern- 
ment existing near our shores, and to which we are bound by many ties 
of history and of material interest. This Government can do no less than 
give friendly and considerate heed to the representations of Guatemala, even as 
it would be glad to do were appeal made by Mexico, in the interest of justice 
and a better understanding. Events, fresh in the memory of the living 
generation of Mexicans, when the moral and material support of the United 
States, although then engaged in a desperate domestic struggle, was freely lent 
to avert the danger which a foreign empire threatened to the national life of 
the Mexican Republic, afford a gratifying proof of the unselfishness with which 
the United States regards all that concerns the welfare and existence of its 
sister Republics of the continent. 




WSm 



GENERAL M. L. BARELLAS, 
President of Gautemala. 



348 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMBS G. BLAINE. 

It is alleged, on behalf of Guatemala, that diplomatic efforts to come to a 
better understanding with Mexico have proved unavailing ; that under a partial 
and preliminary accord looking to the ascertainment of the limits in dispute, 
Guatemalan surveying parties, sent out to study the land, with a view to 
proposing a basis of definitive settlement, have been imprisoned by the Mexican 
authorities; that Guatemalan agents for the taking of a census of the inhabitants 
of the territory in question have been dealt with in like summary manner ; and, 
in fine, that the Government of Mexico has slowly but steadily encroached upon the 
bordering country heretofore held by Guatemala, substituting the local authorities 
of Mexico for those already in possession, and so widening the area in contention. 

It is not the province of the United States to express an opinion as to the 
extent of either the Guatemalan or the Mexican claim to this region. This 
Government is not a self-constituted arbiter of the destinies of either country, 
or of both, in this matter. It is simply the impartial friend of both, ready to 
tender frank and earnest counsel touching anything which may menace the 
peace and prosperity of its neighbors. It is, above all, anxious to do any and 
everything which will tend to make stronger the natural union of the Republics 
of the continent, in the face of the tendencies of other and distant forms of 
government to influence the internal affairs of Spanish America. It is especially 
anxious, in the pursuance of this policy, to see the Central American Republics 
more securely united than they have been in protection of their common interests, 
which interests are, in their outward relations, identical in principle with those 
of Mexico and the United States. It feels that everything which may lessen 
the good will and harmony earnestly to be desired between the Spanish- American 
Republics of the Isthmus must in the end disastrously affect their mutual 
well-being. The responsibility for the maintenance of this common attitude of 
united strength is, in the President's conception, shared by all, and rests no less 
upon the strong States than upon the weak. 

Without, therefore, in any way prejudicing the contention between Mexico 
and Guatemala, but acting as the unbiased counselor of both, the President 
deems it his duty to set before the Government of Mexico his conviction of the 
danger to the principles that Mexico has signally and successfully defended in 
the past, which would ensue should disrespect be shown for the boundaries that 
separate her from her weaker neighbors, or should the authority of force be 
resorted to in the establishment of rights over territory which they claim, without 
the conceded justification of her title thereto. Especiallj' would the President 
regard it as an unfriendly act toward his cherished plan of upbuilding strong 
Republican governments in Spanish America, if Mexico, whose power and 
generosity should be alike signal in such a case, should seek or permit any 
misunderstanding with Guatemala, when the path towards a pacific avoidance of 
trouble is an international duty at once easy and imperative. 

You are directed to request an interview with Seiior Mariscal, in which to 
acquaint him with the purport of this instruction. In doing so, your judgment 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



349 



and discretion may have full scope to avoid any misunderstanding on Lis part 
of the spirit of friendly counsel which prompts the President's course. Should 
Seiior Mariscal evince a disposition to become more intimately acquainted with 
the President's views after your verbal exposition thereof, you are at liberty to 
read this dispatch to him, and, should he so desire, to give him a copy." 

On the twenty-first of June, 1SS1, Mr. Blaine continued the correspondence 
by sending to our minister in Mexico the following summary of the views of 
the Government of the United States relative to the broken relations of Mexico 
and Guatemala : 

Sir : I had hardly completed my instruction to you of the sixteenth instant, 
when information reached me from the United States minister at the Guatemalan 
capital, placing in a still graver light the condition of the relations between 
Mexico and Guatemala, touching the possession of the territory of Soconusco. 
In fact, so serious is the apprehension caused 
in the mind of the President by these untoward 
reports, that I feel constrained to supplement 
my previous instructions to you on the sub- 
ject with even more energy and directness. 

It would appear now that the movement 
on the part of Mexico was not merely to 
obtain possession of the disputed territory, but 
to precipitate hostilities with Guatemala, with 
the ultimate view of extending her borders by 
actual conquest. Large bodies of Mexican 
troops are said to be on their waj r to Soco- 
nusco, and the exigency is reported to be so 
alarming that plans for national defence are 
uppermost in the minds of President Barrios 
and his advisers. Frequent border raids into 
Guatemalan territory have inflamed the pas- 
sions of the residents of the frontier country, 
and the imminence of a collision is very great. Of the possible consequence 
of war it may be premature to speak, but the information possessed by the 
Department intimates the probable extension of hostilities to the other Central 
American States and their eventual absorption into the Mexican federal system. 

I cannot believe it possible that these designs seriously enter into the 
policy of the Mexican Government. Of late years the American movement 
towards permanence of international boundaries has been so marked, and so 
essential a part of the continental policy of the American Republics, that any 
departure therefrom becomes necessarily a menace to the interests of all. 

This is a matter touching which the now established policy of the Govern- 
ment of the United States to refrain from territorial acquisition gives it the right to 
use its friendly offices in discouragement of any movement on the part of 




SENOR IGNACIO MARISCAL, 
Mexican Secretary of State. 



350 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

neighboring States which may tend to disturb the balance of power between 
them. More than this, the maintenance of this honorable attitude of example 
involves to a large extent a moral obligation on our part, as the disinterested 
friend of all our sister States, to exert our influence for the preservation of the 
national life and integrity of any one of them against aggression, whether this 
may come from abroad or from another American Republic. 

No State in the American system has more unequivocally condemned the 
forcible extension of domain, at the expense of a weaker neighbor, than Mexico 
herself; and no State more heartily concurs in the condemnation of filibusterism 
in ever} r form than the United States. It is clearly to the mutual interest of 
the two countries, to whose example the success of Republican institutions on 
this continent is largely due, that their policy in this regard should be identical 
and unmistakable. 

As long as the broadened international diplomacy of our day affords peace- 
able recourse to principles of equity and justice in settlement of controversies 
like that between Mexico and Guatemala, the outbreak of a -war between them 
would, in the judgment of the President, involve much graver results than the 
mere transitory disturbance of the ententi cordiale so much desired by the 
United States Government between all the American Republics. Besides the 
transfers of territory which might follow as enforced compensation for the costs 
of a war, it is easy to forsee the serious complications and consequent dangers 
to the American system, should an opening be afforded to foreign Powers to 
throw their influence or force into the scale in determination of the contest. 
Mexico herself has but too recently recovered from the effects of such a foreign 
constraint not to appreciate at its full force the consideration thus presented. 
The peaceful maintenance of the status quo of the American commonwealths is 
of the very essence of their policy of harmonious alliance for self-preservation, 
and is of even more importance to Mexico than to the United States. 

I have adverted in my dispatch of the sixteenth instant to the desire of the 
United States that its neighbors should possess strong and prosperous govern- 
ments, to the assurance of their tranquillity from internal disturbance and outside 
interference. While we wish this happy result for Mexico, we equally wish it 
for the other Spanish-American nations. It is no less indispensable to the 
welfare of Central America than of Mexico, and, by moral influence and the 
interposition of good offices, it is the desire and the intention of the United 
States to hold up the Republics of Central America in their old strength and to 
do all that may be done towards insuring the tranquillity of their relations among 
themselves and their collective security as an association of allied interests, possess- 
ing in their common relationship to the outer world all the elements of national 
existence. In this enlarged policy we confidently ask the co-operation of Mexico. 
A contrary course on her part could only be regarded as an unwise step, while any 
movement direct^ leading to the absorption, in whole or part, of her weaker 
neighbors would be deemed an act unfriendly to the best interests of America. 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



351 



It is desired that you should make earnest but calm representation of these 
views of the President to the Mexican minister of foreign affairs. In addition 
to embodying the main points of my previous instruction, you will make use 
of such temperate reasoning as will serve to show Sefior Mariscal that we 
expect every effort to be made by his Government to avert a conflict with 
Guatemala, by diplomatic means, or, these failing, by resort to arbitration. 
You will intimate to Senor Mariscal discreetly, but distinctly, that the good 
feeling between Mexico and the United States will be fortified by a frank avowal 




VIEW OF GAUTEMAI.A 



that the Mexican policy toward the neighboring States is not one of conquest 
or aggrandizement, but of conciliation, peace and friendship. 

I have written this instruction rather to strengthen your own hands in the 
execution of the delicate and responsible duty thus confided to you than with a 
view to its formal communication to Seiior Mariscal b}' leaving a copy of it 
with him. If, in your discretion, the important ends in view will be subserved 
by your making the minister acquainted with portions hereof, you are at liberty 
to do so, while regarding the instruction as a whole in a confidential light, and 



3,32 LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

as supplementary to my instructions of the sixteenth, which you have been 
authorized to communicate in extenso, if desirable." 

Again, on November 28, the Secretary continues as follows : 

Department of State, Washington, Nov. 28, 1SS1. 

Sir : Referring to your correspondence with this Department since its 
instruction tendering the good offices of the Government of the United States 
in aid of the amicable settlement of the differences between Mexico and Guate- 
mala, I have to remark that it would be a matter of the gravest disappoint- 
ment if I found myself compelled to agree with you in the conclusion which, 
you seem to have reached in your last dispatch. 

Reporting in your dispatch of September 22, i88i, your most recent 
conversation with Sehor Mariscal, the Mexican secretarv for foreign affairs,. 
3-0U say : 

" I venture to suggest that, unless the Government is prepared to announce 
to the Mexican Government that it will activelv, if necessary, preserve the 
peace, it would be the part of wisdom on our side to leave the matter where it 
is. Negotiations on the subject will not benefit Guatemala, and you may depend 
upon it what we have already done in this direction has not tended to the 
increasing of the cordial relations which I know it is so much your desire to 
cultivate with this nation." 

" To leave the matter where it is," you must perceive, is simply useless, 
for it will not remain there. The friendly relations of the United States and 
Mexico would certainly not be promoted by the refusal of the good offices of 
this Government, tendered in a spirit of the most cordial regard both for the 
interests and honor of Mexico, and suggested only by the earnest desire to 
prevent a war, useless in its purpose, deplorable in its means, and dangerous to 
the best interests of all the Central American Republics in its consequences. 
To put aside such an amicable intervention as an unfriendly intrusion, or to 
treat it as I regret to see the Mexican secretary for foreign affairs seems dis- 
posed, as a partisan manifestation on behalf of claims which we have not 
examined and interests which we totally misunderstand, can certainly not con- 
tribute " to the increasing of the cordial relations which you know it is so 
much our desire to cultivate with Mexico." 

But, more than this, " to leave the matter where it is " is to leave Mexico 
and Guatemala confronting each other in armed hostility, with the certainty 
that irritation and anger on the one side and extreme apprehension on the 
other will develop some untoward incident leading to actual collision. In such 
event no successful resistance can be anticipated on the part of Guatemala. 
Whether the claims of Mexico be moderate or extravagant, whether the cession 
of territory be confined to the present alleged boundary lines or be extended to 
meet the necessities of a war indemnity, there would be another lamentable 
demonstration on this continent of the so-called right of conquest, the general 



LIFE AND WORK OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 353 

disturbance of the friendly relations of the American Republics, and the post- 
ponement for an indefinite period of that sympathy of feeling, that community 
of purpose, and that unity of interest, upon the development of which depends 
the future prosperity of these countries. 

The Republic of Guatemala, one of those American Republics in whose 
fortunes this Government naturally feels a friendly interest, communicated to 
this Government that there existed between it and Mexico certain differences 
which, after much diplomatic consultation, had failed to reach a satisfactory 
settlement. Recognizing the relation of the United States to all the Republics 
of this continent, aware of the friendly services which this Government has 
never failed to render to Mexico, and presuming, not unnaturally, that Mexico 
would receive our amicable counsel with cordiality and confidence, the Govern- 
ment of Guatemala asked our good offices with that Power for the purpose of 
inducing it to submit to an impartial arbitration those differences upon which 
they had been unable to agree. 

To refuse such a request would not only have been a violation of inter- 
national courtesy to Guatemala, but an indication of a want of confidence in 
the purposes and character of the Mexican Government which we could not 
and did not entertain. 

In tendering our good offices, the Mexican Government was distinctly 
informed that the United States "is not a self-constituted arbitrator of the 
destinies of either country or of both in this matter. It is simply the impartial 
friend of both, read)- to tender frank and earnest counsel touching anything 
which may menace the peace and prosperity of its neighbors." 

Before this